Egypt: Tor Use Skyrocketing as Users Route-Around Internet Blocks

As we reported yesterday, the Egyptian government appears to be locking down Intrernet access in Egypt. Access in or out of the country seems to be blocked. GigaOm provides some analysis on how this might work.

However, some Egyptian Internet users are still able to access the outside Internet. The Washington Post lists some ways that Egyptians are still accessing the Internet. Meanwhile, use of Tor, a free Internet anonymizer, is skyrocketing.

Here’s a graph from the Tor Metrics Portal:

According to the Post:

  • Noor Data Networks, the provider used by the Egyptian Stock Excahnge, is unaffected by the Internet blackout.
  • Some are using dial-up access routed through other countries, though there are reports that some landlines are down.
  • Some are using virtual private networks.

It’s being widely retweeted that a French ISP called French Data Network is offering free dial-up to Egyptians: “Free dialup internet access for egypt : http://www.fdn.fr on +33172890150 login toto password toto #jan25 #egypt MASS RT PLZ”

Many people on Twitter are calling for people in other countries to setup Tor relays.

It’s probably worth revisiting the failure of Haystack, an interesting but badly flawed attempt at anonymizing Internet traffic. Perhaps this will also rekindle interest in projects like Freenet and Netsukuku.

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