Don't miss




Macron makes Time 100 as France revolts

Read more


Turkey's rush to the polls: Erdogan calls snap election to cement his power

Read more


France's Macron likens divisions within EU to 'civil war'

Read more


Sting and Shaggy on making musical magic together

Read more


The citizens finding solutions to Lebanon's chronic waste crisis

Read more


Head of UN entity probing war crimes in Syria speaks to FRANCE 24

Read more


The future of work: How the gig economy is changing the jobs market

Read more


'France has underinvested in early childhood education for many years'

Read more


'Badass': Accolades pour in for Southwest pilot who landed plane after engine failure

Read more


Egyptians find loophole to government web blackout

Text by Sébastian SEIBT

Latest update : 2011-02-01

Hosni Mubarak succeeded in shutting down the Internet in Egypt, but Google and Twitter are backing the protesters. The two companies have established a system that allows users to post messages on the microblogging network.

Egyptian Web users just got some heavy-weight support. On Monday night, Twitter and Google established a system that allows users to continue posting 140-character “tweets” despite the Internet shutdown in Egypt.

The solution proposed by the two Internet giants is called “speak-to-tweet” and allows people to publish updates on the famous microbloggins site by leaving a message on a voice mailbox. The service is free of charge, with Google offering users three international telephone numbers (in the US +16504194196, in Italy +390662207294, and in Bahrain +97316199855).

The speak-to-tweet twitter feed

The news is especially welcome for Egyptians, since Tuesday has been qualified as a turning point for the anti-Mubarak movement that has rocked the North African nation in the last week. Demonstrators were aiming to draw a million people into the streets of Cairo, and as many in Alexandria.

The regime, for its part, is trying its best to restrict Internet access. American Internet monitoring company Renesys reported that Monday night at 8:30 pm, Noor, Egypt’s last Internet provider, abruptly stopped working. Egypt therefore found itself 100 percent cut off from the online world when it woke up Tuesday morning.

Morse code and telephone as weapons against silence

The digital code of silence imposed by Egyptian authorities has not, for the moment, prevented the savviest Web users from going online and flooding Twitter with messages about the situation in Egypt. They are doing so by turning to dial-up, or telephone, modems, which offer a slower connection than ADSL or cable, but one that is nevertheless strong enough for publishing a 140-character message.

All the user needs to do is dial an international number to reach a modem in another country. A list of numbers to dial in order to connect to the Internet this way has been published online.

Morse code and radio messages also have been used by Egyptians to communicate with the world outside their country. Meanwhile, the site of Web activists We Rebuild transcribes the transmissions heard on various amateur radio stations in Egypt.


Date created : 2011-02-01


    Is regime change in Egypt a threat to Israel?

    Read more


    Reporter's notebook: Amid the protests, Cairo shopkeepers struggle to bring in business

    Read more


    Egypt's opposition: Thousands take to the streets – now what?

    Read more