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Description: CNN’s Josh Levs talks about how technology plays a part in protests around the world


Date: Jan 29, 2011

Last week, as demonstrators angry with the policies of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak took to the streets, the government shut down social-media websites, then blacked out all internet access in much of the country.

On Tuesday, as protesters began what’s being called a “march of millions,” which many observers say could be a decisive day in the effort to oust Mubarak, there were fresh reports of the internet being shut off in much of Egypt. Read rest of story

Questions for discussion:

  • Does the digital age age make it difficult for govermant to control the massage or environment?
  • What should goverments do to conteract the influence of the internet in cival disobeience?

9 Responses to “Google, Twitter help give voice to Egyptians”

  1. Dustin

    The digital age with out a doubt is going and is already making it more difficult for the governement to control the massage or environment. Like was said, in egypt not a lot of people have access to the internet, but most of them have cell-phone. of which can take videos and or pictures. Like what we saw in the short film. There were people taking pictures or video’s. All it takes is the press of a few buttons and that picture or video is off for others to see. Eventually makes it onto the interent and the whole world can know within minutes!
    I don’t think the government can do a whole lot of anything. Its not like they can shut it down. They will have to adapt to it as it changes. They could come out with their own statements and try to down play it. But the camera doesn’t lie!

  2. Clayton Varjassy

    I think what happened in Egypt just goes to show you the power of the people, and how governments are becoming increasingly unable to censor or control a population. The internet makes any event people have interest in automatically global. People don’t have to watch their nightly news channel anymore to know what’s going on in the world, they simply need to log on to facebook or twitter to find out what’s going on. I think to counteract the influence of the internet in disobedience the government needs to try not to censor or unnecessarily control its people. People have a right to communicate with one another whether it be with cellphones/landlines, in person, or via the internet. If the government tries to strip the people of this right, there is not much they can do to counteract protests and demonstrations. Technology and the internet are making it harder and harder for governments to “fake” democracy.

  3. Derek Wilson

    Throughout history, governments have been able to stomp out protests and keep everything within the borders, but now that is all but impossible. It is very difficult for a government to control the messages that are going out of the country. This digital age makes it very difficult for a government to keep control of their people because of the free access to information and communication. I am all for democracy and free choice but even in a state of emergency that the country needs to be cut off from the outside world, it seems all but impossible. If a government wishes to succeed in cutting off people from the outside, the government will be forced to completely cut all access to the internet, all phone service and any other wireless activity. It would have to be a full and complete shut off. Only then will governments be able to send out the messages that they want.

  4. Simar Duggal

    I don’t feel like governments attempts to censer information on the internet will never be successful , even with a digital divide there are many ways for people to reach out to others as was mentioned in Egypt many people had cell phones. The government cannot take away personal cell phones and will not be able to shut down communication of people who have the use of technology. The government will not be able to do much in the issue of “internet in civil disobedience” the people are more influential. The only way government can do this is by attempting to cut off all Internet, phone and postal services.

  5. Bretton MacDonald

    Governments trying to control the internet is becoming increasingly hard. The technology available to the average person is so great now that anything can get out on the web even if the government tries its hardest to stop it. The acts in Egypt just go to show that even censoring the protests in their own country is pointless because videos still get leaked. Social networks such as twitter and facebook also play a huge role in this, they connect millions of people throughout the world and this allows people to find out exactly wahts going on accross the world almost instantaneous. These types of websites are taking away ratings from news networks because facebook is essentially the news, and even if it doesnt show some news you can access it on the internet. The government will have to work a lot harder if they want to contract this networking.

  6. alex.hedges

    There is nothing the Egyptian government can do to counteract the impact that the internet is having on civil disobedience. The continuation of civil unrest no longer relies on the spread of information over the internet as the situation already has global attention though the media. There are numerous western news reporters shedding light on situation and diving deeper into the details of the national circumstances.
    The Egyptian government’s best bet was to be proactive in censoring the internet before they had to counteract it’s influence. If the Egyptian government had censored the internet earlier, there would be less probability of the protests escalating, as the chances of news station being informed would have been lower. The news stations do a good job of translating information for less informed viewers. Their analysis of the situation is more informative than watching a blurry Youtube video that is somewhat out of context.

  7. prab22

    Google and Twitter is great way for the people of Egypt to set up a group to unite the whole country for the cause. Also, I believe that it has to do a lot with the younger generation of people, especially in the Middle East region. Google and Twitter is a great way for people all over the world to keep in touch and it brings the world closer together. It is important for the young people because it brings change especially in the area of the Middle East where it is very traditional and poor political stability. The great thing about technology is it brings in change. The people of Egypt should continue the use of Google and Twitter so we know what is going on in the region from the people’s standpoint; (not the media or government). It gives people of Egypt, also other countries like Iran more freedom and a voice to stand up for what is right.

  8. Ifeoma Moseri

    While I believe this is a great service that Google and Twitter are offering in the name of democracy, I am compelled to point out that the technology isn’t new or innovative as CNN announcers imply. I have service with Glo Mobile in my home country and I have been sending text-to-landline messages for a few years now. From my cell phone, I simply enter a land-line number and a computer calls the land-line and reads the text message to them. I don’t know about the other big companies, but this is a neat feature for those that are access-challenged or who cannot (or choose not to) afford a cell phone. I don’t think most cell phone customers even realize they have this feature. Just pointing out that the technology has been out for a while.
    The digital age makes it very difficult to control the message or environment. Gone are the days when government tries to paint the good picture to the masses. People can now write on what they think is not right and criticize the government. In my country for instance the incumbent party is finding it very hard to rig elections as people can now blog or send pictures to sites like twitter or naira land for the whole world to see .

  9. Ashleigh

    The digital age does make it difficult for government to control the massage or environment because no matter where you go someone is going to have access to the Internet. As seen with Egypt, people with cell phones were the ones taking videos and pictures and posting it on the Internet when then gets leaked out to the outside world This enables people from all over the world to be informed about what was happening. They are being cut from the outside world without any internet access. Governments should not even attempt to cut access to the Internet because no matter what, some how, some way people are going to get on it. Facebook, Google and twitter are almost the prime spots to be able to find out what is going in the world. People have a right to have access to the Internet, things would be a lot harder to accomplish without it.

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