Both in Tunisia and in Egypt, demonstrations were organized thanks to Facebook groups, and with exchanges on Twitter, deemed the most efficient way of spreading news fast and to a large number.
The governments reacted by trying to block internet and even mobile phone networks. The four large companies providing internet access in Egypt were all ordered to “suspend services in selected areas.” It is estimated 20 million Egyptians, out of a 80 million population, are internet users.
But this attempt can only be short lived, as the economy is so deeply dependent on communications, that it can’t be durably isolated from the rest of the world, its contacts, clients, and suppliers.
The Chinese government, beginning with the 2008 Summer Olympics, began applying even more controls to the Internet. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are blocked in China. The ongoing changes in the Arab world will, unfortunately, open new markets to the experts of internet censorship. They will also open new opportunities to those who know how to workaround the censorship.
Our smart security industry has abilities to do the best and the worst. We can provide free communications thanks to our expertise in communication, cryptography, and identity management. The smart security industry can also provide means to track everything and everyone on networks, putting people at risk for expressing opinions.
Let’s go for the best side.