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Egypt's Internet service is restored

Tracking groups record a sudden increase in Egyptian Internet use after Egypt had cut access to the Web for a week amid mass unrest.

February 02, 2011|By Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times

The Internet is apparently available again in Egypt after the country cut access to the Web for a week amid mass unrest.

After a long stretch of inactivity, RIPE NCC, which tracks Web traffic, recorded a sudden lurch in Egyptian Internet use starting just after 11 a.m. Thursday in Cairo.

A similar tracking organization, Renesys Group, wrote in a blog post that access was restored to websites such as the Egyptian Stock Exchange, Commercial International Bank of Egypt and the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.

The group also said that Facebook and Twitter were back up inside the country, adding that "no traffic blocks are in place … no funny business. For now."

Facebook said in a statement, "We're pleased that Internet service has been restored and the 5 million people who use Facebook in Egypt can continue using our service to connect, learn, and share."

Many of the initial protests against Egypt's government were organized online, through Facebook groups and other social networking sites. Although the country's president, Hosni Mubarak, has said he will not seek reelection after decades in power, demonstrators continued to clash Wednesday.

Twitter was quickly awash in messages from Egypt after it was restored. Some of the messages asked for donations and medical supplies at hospitals.

Meanwhile, the international group of activist hackers known as Anonymous spent the day trying to bring down Egyptian government websites.

The group, which recently attacked the websites of companies it considered opponents of WikiLeaks, targeted the Egyptian Ministry of Information's portal as well as the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology's site.

"Welcome back to the Internet, #Egypt. Well, except http://www.moiegypt.gov.eg — you stay down," @AnonymousIRC wrote in a Twitter message Wednesday morning.

tiffany.hsu@latimes.com

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