According to The Telegraph:
The Egyptian government’s action is unprecedented in the history of the internet. Countries such as China, Iran, Thailand and Tunisia have cut off access to news websites and social networking services during periods of unrest, as Egypt did when it cut off Facebook and Twitter earlier this week.E-mail, texting, cellular, VOIP, electronic shopping, banking, payments, social networking, entertainment and information services are indispensable to many Canadians. Personal pages and blogs provide the means for any dedicated person to express themselves readily. The barriers are low because little equipment is needed and net access is widely available. Almost 90% of British Columbians are wired to the Internet, a little higher than the Canadian average.
The ongoing attempt by the Egyptian government to shut down all online communication is, however, a new phenomenon. It not only prevents ordinary Egyptian internet users from accessing any websites, it cripples Tor, an anti-censorship tool that technical experts and activists were using to circumvent the Facebook and Twitter blocks.
The action puts Egypt, temporarily at least, in the company of North Korea, which has never allowed its citizens access to the internet.
Canadian users wonder if the federal government is capable of shutting down the Internet and if it would take that action in a political emergency. The short answer is yes. For one thing, the process is simple because Canadian telecommunications are controlled by a cartel of corporations whose sinecures depend on government regulators. Harper Conservatives mirror Republican attitudes in purported matters of security and show sympathy to groups lobbying for political correctness and restrictions on content perceived as offensive.
Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins co-sponsored a bill in the American Senate this week that would give the president a "kill switch" to shut down the internet during a "national cyberemergency." Lieberman defended the proposal, saying more or less, "If China can shut down the internet, why can't we?" Under pressure he and co-sponsoring Senators revised the proposed legislation.
It is uncertain that China has the ability to stop all traffic but the country routinely interferes with traffic, broadly censoring content critical of the state. For example, websites such as Amnesty International have been blocked. Critical articles or comments, even entire blogs, are quickly removed. These acts of oppression are common in states that suppress human and political rights. Unfortunately, they are not unknown in nations that claim to be free and democratic.
We have an example of censorship in British Columbia. The blog House of Infamy has been removed by Google for unspecified reasons. The site was written by Kootcoot, a regular commenter on this and other forums. He is passionate about the issues, particularly in his opposition to BC Liberals and criticism of mainstream media. Koot is direct and abrupt, certain of his own opinions and not always tolerant of different points of view. His criticism though should be welcome in an open society.
For House of Infamy to be targeted by Google for removal without warning is both sad and dangerous. Since it is not involved in spam and is not a large consumer of Google's resources, I presume it has been attacked for its political opposition to British Columbia's rich and powerful. That sends a serious warning to me and to other bloggers who aim to make authorities accountable or uncomfortable by discussion of public affairs.
Here is part of a message from Kootcoot published at Sister Sage's Musings.
Well, the forces of evil (the BC LIEberals and their cohorts) have really circled the wagons and upped the ante and unfortunately it appears the people are going to lay down and take it in whatever orifice they choose.Recommend this post
I guess they are really confident because they’ve apparently managed to shut down the House of Infamy. I’m currently trying to get some kind of explanation from Google as to why the House has disappeared and all I’ve managed to get so far is that there has been “suspicious activity” on my blog (this at a time when I haven’t posted since January 25) and that is must have been “disabled” due to “perceived” violations of their standards. Unless I get something a little more cogent than this nonsense Google will just naturally join Stephen Harper, the BC liaRs, and Republicans as one of my targets from a different platform.
However for the present I am giving Google a chance to respond to my questions and demand for an explanation – I am perfectly willing to believe that they have been gamed as well as myself. It wouldn’t hurt if anyone who used to visit the House (http://houseofinfamy.blogspot.com) took a moment to contact Google and ask them why in the Hell it disappeared. The last visitor was around 12:30PM on Tuesday, February 15 from PoCo, according to my visitor logs which are kept elsewhere and thus still accessible.
They say the pen (or the keyboard, today) is mightier than the sword, but sometimes I wonder if that might not just be another lie promoted by the forces of evil to protect themselves from the justified wrath of those they exploit. Tyrants always figure they hold all the cards, but eventually they always fall, once those they exploit have had enough, however much that is in any given situation.