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Egypt's Internet Shut Down, According To Reports

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Reports are emerging that Internet has gone down in Cairo and throughout Egypt, only hours before the largest planned protests yet.

According to a report from The Arabist, "Egypt has shut off the internet."

Multiple Internet Service Providers are affected according to the report, which states:

I just received a call from a friend in Cairo (I won't say who it is now because he's a prominent activist) telling me neither his DSL nor his USB internet service is working. I've just checked with two other friends in different parts of Cairo and their internet is not working either.

The news of the Internet outage came minutes after the Associated Press published a video of an Egyptian protestor being shot.

CNN reporter Ben Wedeman confirmed Internet is down in Cairo and writes, "No internet, no SMS, what is next? Mobile phones and land lines? So much for stability. #Jan25 #Egypt"

The Los Angeles Times is also reporting that BlackBerry Internet has been taken offline in Egypt.

UPDATE (7:05 p.m. ET) Reuters confirms "major network disruptions" for Egypt Internet users at this time, with reports in Cairo that there is no Internet altogether. A top state official declined to comment.

UPDATE: (7:30 p.m. ET) The Associated Press also confirms widespread Internet outages in Egypt. Italy-based Seabone, a major Internet service provider for Egypt, reported early Friday there was no Internet traffic going into or out of the country after 12:30 a.m. local time.

UPDATE: (7:35 p.m. ET) AFP reports that cell phone text messaging also appears to be down in Egypt.

UPDATE: (7:45 p.m. ET) Independent citizen media organization Global Voices just posted a report on Egypt's "Internet black hole" and notes it will attempt to file future reports from Egypt via phone calls and other communication methods.

UPDATE: (9:45 p.m. ET) Internet intelligence authority Renesys has just weighed in with a blog post on recent developments:

Confirming what a few have reported this evening: in an action unprecedented in Internet history, the Egyptian government appears to have ordered service providers to shut down all international connections to the Internet. Critical European-Asian fiber-optic routes through Egypt appear to be unaffected for now. But every Egyptian provider, every business, bank, Internet cafe, website, school, embassy, and government office that relied on the big four Egyptian ISPs for their Internet connectivity is now cut off from the rest of the world. Link Egypt, Vodafone/Raya, Telecom Egypt, Etisalat Misr, and all their customers and partners are, for the moment, off the air.

At 22:34 UTC (00:34am local time), Renesys observed the virtually simultaneous withdrawal of all routes to Egyptian networks in the Internet's global routing table. Approximately 3,500 individual BGP routes were withdrawn, leaving no valid paths by which the rest of the world could continue to exchange Internet traffic with Egypt's service providers. Virtually all of Egypt's Internet addresses are now unreachable, worldwide.

UPDATE: (2:10 a.m. ET) HuffPost reader Thomas Jaworowski, a tech enthusiast, emails in that he "decided to try a few tricks" to see if Egypt's Internet really was down or it was just server overload causing the problems. He traced IP addresses, particularly for the U.S. Embassy in Cairo which is hosted in Egypt, and found that the Web traffic is indeed being blocked at the country level, not just a simple censoring.

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