On January 27, the Egyptian government sought to combat growing public unrest by disconnecting the Internet and mobile phone services--the thinking being that protesters couldn't organize if they couldn't communicate. Ignoring for the moment the fact that there have been protests since long before the Net, this is still a significant and historical action. Previously, Iran and Tunisia have sought to quell protests with similar policies and actions, but the Egyptian example is perhaps the largest and most heavy-handed communications shut-down the modern world has seen.
Our guests for today's discussion are Declan McCullagh, our own political reporter; and Deborah Wheeler, a political science professor who spent the last 10 years in the Middle East studying how social technologies impact politics. Author of The Internet in the Middle East, she teaches as visiting professor at the American University of Kuwait. She is also a professor at one of the U.S. service academies, but the views expressed here are her own.
Some of our discussion points… Read more