I may not know all of the circumstances with the riots and revolt in Egypt, but I do know that they should have never cut off communication (Phones and Internet) to squelch the turmoil. This is what happens when an over-powered leader senses a risk of losing that power, they begin suppressing basic freedoms, such as speech. Mubarak‘s thinking is that by disrupting the lines of communication that the protesters won’t be able to efficiently plan, he’s wrong, this is only going to fuel their rage. I hope that Obama is watching this and begins to realize the risks of having an internet kill-switch, something that should never come to be.
On January 31, on the Official Google Blog, Ujjwal Singh and AbdelKarim Mardini published a post stating that they had implemented a service. This service would allow anyone within Egypt that was able to obtain phone service to call an international phone number, leave a voicemail, and have that voicemail immediately converted into a Tweet post with a hashtag of #egypt. This incredible effort by Google was completed with the help of a small group of engineers from Twitter, Google and SayNow, a company that Google acquired the week before. Ujjwal is the CoFounder of SayNow and AbdelKarim is Product Manager for Google, Middle East & North Africa. People are able to listed to these tweet messages by dialing the same phone numbers or going to http://www.twitter.com/speak2tweet.
Regardless of who has the moral high ground in this conflict, both sides deserve their freedom to communicate freely so that they both can express their issues. The only way this conflict will end is if everyone is able to communicate freely. Way to go Google for helping keep it that way.