Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Internet Communications

Egypt Calls for Bandwidth Rationing 182

Posted by Soulskill
from the stay-away-from-youtube dept.
I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "Egypt's Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has called upon its citizens to ration their internet usage. This comes after two of its three undersea fiber optic links were recently severed. The cut cables have caused communication difficulties for millions of people throughout the Middle East. Ministry spokesman Mohammed Taymur was quoted as saying, 'People should know how to use the Internet because people who download music and films are going to affect businesses who have more important things to do.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Egypt Calls for Bandwidth Rationing

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 01, 2008 @04:10AM (#22258696)
    The cables in the mideast have all been cut on purpose. When they were first laid out, we did not have as good interception equipment as is now available. However, going down and installing equipment capable of intercepting, duplicating, and analyzing their traffic without increasing latency in the slightest would require an unexplained interruption in service while it was being installed. While the lines are being repaired, further up in a difficult-to-reach location or hub, the NSA is now installing this equipment. Afterwards, they can copy all data sent through the cable without raising any eyebrows. There will be no proof.
    • by darkmeridian (119044) <william.chuang@gm a i l . com> on Friday February 01, 2008 @04:44AM (#22258860) Homepage
      There's no need to do that with these cables. They have at end somewhere, right? So what the NSA/bad guys do is to tap the ends of the wires. The ISP sometimes helps.
      • by kestasjk (933987) on Friday February 01, 2008 @05:16AM (#22258980) Homepage
        That would leave proof, and that would totally ruin the fun of coming up with some elaborate baseless conspiracy theory. What good is a conspiracy theory if there's a way to disprove it that doesn't require a submarine?
        • by ta bu shi da yu (687699) * on Friday February 01, 2008 @05:19AM (#22259002) Homepage
          Are you seriously saying a Chinese mini-sub didn't kidnap an Australian prime minister?

          Harold Holt would be turning in his grave.
          • What kind of a lame attempt was this?
            It was Hagbard Celine [wikipedia.org] in the golden submarine with a glitch in FUCKUP [wikipedia.org] that can only be described as self-referential.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by s74ng3r (963541)
          Well, for submarines, maybe no. But if your conspiracy theory involved something like sharks with freakin lasers, now that's a conspiracy. :)
          • But if your conspiracy theory involved something like sharks with freakin lasers, now that's a conspiracy. :)
            They were trained to cut the cables with their freakin laser beams by the evil doers. It is a vast conspiracy of such brilliant precision and global scope as to be worthy of Dr Evil himself.
        • by Zymergy (803632) *
          The US is most likely using its Nuclear Submarines (USS Jimmy Carter, et al) for something other than mere 'deterrence'. Cool.
          We read about this here before:
          http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=01/05/23/2142216 [slashdot.org] and
          http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=00/11/20/235216 [slashdot.org]
          http://www.google.com/search?num=50&hl=en&safe=off&q=US+Submarine+cable+tapping&btnG=Search [google.com]
        • Ok well here's one for you there are 2 stories on the frontpage posted by soulskill with I dont beleive in imaginary property as the submitter. These are both linked to Iwouldn'tsteal.net . A quick whois revelas this is registered by Lasse Nilsson of Oderland Webbhotell AB. Make of that what you will.
        • Haha. Well, United States military subs have been specially modified to tap into undersea lines for a long time now. For example, Operation Ivy Bells was exactly this kind of mission. And there are special purpose-built subs, if I remember correctly, that can allow a team to work in a dry area with a wire brought within a sub. The thing is that tampering with a fiber optic lines is readily detectable because operators can sense the slightest change in quality (either in length, signal strength, etc.)
          http:// [wikipedia.org]
        • That would leave proof, and that would totally ruin the fun of coming up with some elaborate baseless conspiracy theory. What good is a conspiracy theory if there's a way to disprove it that doesn't require a submarine?
          It's really not that far fetched seeing as they've already done it in all the major AT&T switching centers-- PBS did a story on an ex-employee of AT&T who figured this out on his own and wasn't under a NDA.
      • by g8oz (144003)
        Ah, but avoiding tapping the endpoints frees you from needing the co-operation of a hostile country's ISP. Would Iran's ISPs really help the U.S tap its voice & data traffic? What if you want to tap the traffic going from Iran to another non-cooperative country?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Whose to say it was the NSA? Maybe it was Islamic fundamentalists cutting the cable because they did not want their countryment access to western influences?

      It would seem that previous history of the NSA indicates their desire for no detection, as compared to an obvious interrruption.
      • Y'all hush!
        If at first you can't stay out of the conversation, then at least ensure the opposition estimate of capabilities is way off.
        Remember: the NSA are bumbling fools that couldn't lead two nuns in one minute of silent prayer.
    • by Erpo (237853) on Friday February 01, 2008 @05:36AM (#22259084)
      If that is how you feel, you should be encrypting sensitive information. There is never a guarantee that someone isn't looking at information you send in the clear over the Internet.
      • If that is how you feel, you should be encrypting sensitive information.

        ... and authenticating [windowsecurity.com] it!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by muzicman (1148101)
      Have you been seeing black helicoptors since you have written this post? You do realise that just because you are paranoid, doen't mean their not out to get you!
    • by Wylfing (144940)

      Mynocks.

    • by Guppy06 (410832)
      Except there's no need to cut a wire in order to tap it. Ever heard of induction?
      • by afidel (530433)
        Ever heard of induction?

        In fiber?!? That would be one giant leap in science. Now from what I've read the NSA does have a way to tap fiber, but when they used it on the Russians they didn't need to disrupt service.
    • Maybe they were cut on purpose, but maybe not (only) for installing tapping equipment:

      People should know how to use the Internet because people who download music and films are going to affect businesses who have more important things to do.

      That argument will absolutely certainly be brought by the US telcos (especially AT&T) now demanding to set up gear that violates Network Neutrality, and that polices Internet content for "piracy". They'll claim it's only for an emergency like this one, when they must

    • by STrinity (723872)
      A communications disruption can mean only one thing -- invasion.
  • by TheLink (130905)
    Like read Slashdot :).
  • by node159 (636992) on Friday February 01, 2008 @04:12AM (#22258706)
    One would think that those businesses affected who depend on their network connection would see its value and have the appropriate SLA. Otherwise they should fall under the rest who need to fight over the limited data cause by a lack of investment of inferstructure. I have no sympathy, if line failure means a reduced capacity, that isn't a backup.

    God talking heads piss me off some times. Get a clue.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by klingens (147173)
      The (possible) SLAs are exactly the point: chances are, the telecommunications company, and probably the cable too, is directly owned by the government. This is a usual arrangement in most islamic countries so any payout or loss of revenue due SLAs is directly hurting the government of which this minister is an officer.
    • by zappepcs (820751)
      The trouble with that thought is that there are companies that know a cable cut could hurt them, but there are no viable alternatives in the event of a cable cut. Does anyone remember when one of the comms satellites went missing? If they had bought dishes that can be pointed remotely, there was a standby bird, everyone else had to visit all their sites to repoint dishes.

      In this case, say you are a large ISP, what do you do? Especially if your connection is provided by the government, and mandated by law? E
      • everyone else had to visit all their sites to repoint dishes.
        Couldn't they just get someone who was already on site to do it?! repoining a dish can't be that hard.
        • by zappepcs (820751)
          Well, if you happen to have someone on site at ALL 4500 of your sites, yes, that would be a viable option. Of course that never happens. Imagine someone being on site at every cell tower and you begin to realize the magnitude of the problem.
      • by Peeteriz (821290)
        If you usually have 100 units of bandwidth, and due to some accident now you have 10 available, then instead of having 'congestion', you just have full bandwidth available to the important customers (tehse important businesses with SLA's, guaranteed links), and throttle the less important ones to near zero, or cut them off at all (and deal with the consequences there). What else can be done?
    • By definition, having a redundant backup system means inefficient use of systems. When there's an infinite demand, such as there is with bandwidth, this means there's no point in having backup links at the same high capacity. Instead, what you do is guarantee some minimum access and a good coping/recovery strategy. Seems that the good strategy is the part missing in this case.
    • by pla (258480)
      Business more important than my porn? NO!

      Y'know, at first I thought the same thing - Where the hell does this guy get off telling people not to use the net so oh-so-special "business" users can have priority access to bandwidth?

      Then on thinking about it a bit deeper - That really does make sense, and not just for the "screw you, I pay for it too and will damned well use it" reason.

      Without Aziz Sixpack using the net, these businesses have no use for it. "The Internet" doesn't magically equal profit (o
  • No more pr0n for Egypt. Or 2-6 pics per person per day. Poor chaps.
  • I think it is pathetic to say that big business internet usage is more important than that of a home user. I for one work from home and my internet usage is closely tied to my pay. So to me it is definitely more important that corporate office people sending chain emails.

    I do admit that the curbing of music downloading for personal use may be helpful... but there are musicians who require this for their income as well.

    No way I would drop my usage at all.
  • Who's that guy to say what's more important to do? Porn and fansubs are more important than business to me, and I'm a citizen as good as and equal in rights to any businessmen. That idiot would like to hear about the series of tubes.
  • by psychicsword (1036852) * <The&psychicsword,com> on Friday February 01, 2008 @04:26AM (#22258762)
    It seems that Internet is now making its way up with water food and shelter for human necessities :P
    • by jamesh (87723)
      I can just imagine the ads we are going to see on TV... images of fat Egyptians sitting at their computer screens with 'taking too long to respond' messages on their browsers. A voice-over asking us to please donate all our unused bandwidth to these poor unfortunately souls... cut to one of the previously shown Egyptian kid, in a cold sweat with a crazed look in his eyes, talking about how much he has suffered in the 48 hours that he's been unable to update his facebook site.

      Seriously though, are any of the
  • by thrill12 (711899) on Friday February 01, 2008 @04:27AM (#22258768) Journal
    ... next thing they do is giving away "bandwidth-stamps".
    I am sorry sir, your bandwidth-card is full ; you will have to wait until next month to renew your bandwidth.
    Here you go ma'm, one bandwidth stamp for 100 MB worth of data.
    Sir, you are hereby under arrest for trying to fraud with bandwidth-cards, you sir are a "bandwidth pirate", a "megabyte thief", a "bit ripper" !
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mikael (484)
      With French Pay-As-You-go 3G Sim cards for mobile internet (Mobicarte), you top up your account by purchasing scratch cards from your local supermarket. Scratch the card to reveal a security code, then use SMS to send the code to the account managers. No need to use or disclose your credit card details.
  • by Statecraftsman (718862) * on Friday February 01, 2008 @04:30AM (#22258798) Homepage
    Though I've never looked for an Egyptian site before, my curiousity may have added a little to the problem:

    The server at www.egypt.gov.eg is taking too long to respond.
  • Next up... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Icarium (1109647)
    ...they'll be asking road users to give way to trucks and business executives on the roads.

    Thier concern over how this could impact thier commerce is understandable, but this is not the answer.
    • Re:Next up... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Zorque (894011) on Friday February 01, 2008 @05:00AM (#22258918)
      All it's asking is that people try and refrain from heavy downloading (music, movies, etc) for a little while until the lines are fixed. They're not asking people to give up the internet entirely. It would be pretty stupid of them to have a large portion of their economy collapse just so people could torrent.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Rogerborg (306625)

        Hey, Ibrahim, how's our bandwidth demand? Sharply down, you say? So, our expenditure is down as well, right? And our revenue? Still constant. Hmm.

        Say, Ibrahim, about those cables. If you felt like taking some vacation time before fixing them, that'd be OK with me. See you in April.

      • It would be pretty stupid of them to have a large portion of their economy collapse just so people could torrent.

        I never thought I'd see that on Slashdot! I wonder if Sweden agrees :-)

    • they'll be asking road users to give way to trucks

      I can't remember who told me this but apparently they were in Egypt and asked the hotel people where they could go to rent a car and look around for a bit in the evening and they were told no way to you do that because big trucks drive around at night and nobody makes them use lights.

      Closer to home (for me) I was in Tasmania, which is the most redneck state in Australia. They have signs on logging roads saying that this is a public road but if you get hit by a logging truck then the onus is on you.

    • by Nullav (1053766)
      This has nothing to do with trucks; it's a series of tubes!
    • by Alioth (221270)
      That's already done pretty much everywhere! Severe weather, or a major accident on a highway? Guess what - you're often advised to "only use that road for journeys that are extremely necessary".

      They aren't telling home users to get stuffed, they are requesting that they limit their internet access to stuff that's essential until the problem is fixed.
  • Why not? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Misanthrope (49269) on Friday February 01, 2008 @04:40AM (#22258844)
    Aziz Bandwidth!
    • Ah, this is exactly the kind of situation that demonstrate how the network neutrality dogma is hurting. To have a per packet fair policy is just fine when existing infrastructure can wistand the load.

      Now with the wonderfull IP / TCP whatever protocol, not beeing able to diffenciate traffic per user and per session end to end in the network lead the following situation: When the capacity is reduced (such incidents, maintenance, etc) or if traffic increases (chrismas, special events, etc.) where everybody get
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Andrewkov (140579)
        Absolute power corrupts absolutely. True in politics, and bandwidth allocation. ISPs cannot be trusted to police Internet traffic.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Aziz... Bandwidth...
      *makes another mark on paper*
  • Ah, good times (Score:3, Interesting)

    by istartedi (132515) on Friday February 01, 2008 @04:41AM (#22258852) Journal

    When I was in dial-up tech support in the late 90s, we would occasionally get customers who were furious because "my business depends on the internet". Of course we couldn't tell customers what we really thought, so we would all stand outside on break, and be like "your business ha-hah, depends on ha-ha, the INTERNET???". "Well then, you should not have depended on a single provider, if it was really that critical".

    It's one thing for some idiot pre-bubble day trader who fancied himself a "business man" to not understand that. In this case, it's a whole region. OK, maybe I'm being a bit harsh. Maybe they're where we were in the 90s. It seems like the whole network would go dark every few weeks or so back then. In the call center they would put up a big sign that said something like "MAE East is down". I haven't seen anything like that for a while. Maybe they'll put in some redundant routes after this, which is probably what happened here.

    • Re:Ah, good times (Score:5, Informative)

      by MrMickS (568778) on Friday February 01, 2008 @05:12AM (#22258960) Homepage Journal

      Maybe they'll put in some redundant routes after this, which is probably what happened here.
      Erm ... there are redundant routes. Two of them, 2km apart, have both been severed the result being that they are down to a single route. Given the political nature of the area it wouldn't be a surprise for the redunancy to not be as high as possible with inter-country connects.
    • Re:Ah, good times (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 01, 2008 @05:17AM (#22258986)
      Not every country can afford the redundancy mate. It's called being poor.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by darthflo (1095225)
        First of all, "poor" applies to people. Natural people, you see? Businesses are legal people. Just like there's no welfare for businesses, there's no "poor" businesses. (Obvious exemption: Gov't-subsidized public services. They're not poor, they're simply not competitive but the government deems them to be important enough not to die.) Either a business makes money, is using up stockpiles (including credits) of money or it's bankrupt. An internet-dependent business unable to afford basic redundancy is, howe
    • by ethanms (319039)

      When I was in dial-up tech support in the late 90s, we would occasionally get customers who were furious because "my business depends on the internet".

      This.

      I worked from a dial up ISP in the late-late 90s and it was amazing to me how many people, who were signed up for home user accounts (i.e. no SLA), and would be screeching into their phones about how they were "losing money by the minute" because they couldn't get online and they had no access to email, or whatever... Anecdotally I'd say that the vast majority of the issues were typically with the customer's own equipment, and had nothing to do with our end.

      Riiiiiight, and you chose this $9.99/mo dia

      • by PitaBred (632671)
        Whereas the average income in upper Egypt is around $2,600/yr [islamic-relief.com], and even in Cairo it's only $19,200/yr. $100 is nothing, though.
  • by CCFreak2K (930973) on Friday February 01, 2008 @04:47AM (#22258868) Homepage Journal
    Cut cable causes communication catastrophe! Dismal disaster dooms denizens!
  • Downloading music and movies is your business, hmm?

It is surely a great calamity for a human being to have no obsessions. - Robert Bly

Working...