Egypt and the Internet

2 February, 2011 | | 2 Comments

Hosni Mubarak, whose song is ending, took steps a week or so ago to prevent the Egyptian people from using social media to organize and communicate, starting with blocking access to Facebook and Twitter, and culminating with shutting down all in-country ISPs.   Regardless of the morality of these actions, they were legally ordered and carried out by a government that has been recognized as the legitimate government of a sovereign nation for around 3 decades.

Google, Inc., along with most of the rest of the world, took exception to these actions.  Unlike most of the rest of the world, Google realized they were in a position to do something about it, and so they did.   They came up with the idea of a speak-to-tweet service—the ability for anyone to tweet using just a voice connection.  They did this deliberately, to support the protesters who are organizing to bring down the current government.

While I hope the pending transition of power in Egypt is executed peacefully – 30 years is long enough – the larger question in my mind is the relationship between Egypt and Google.  Had another sovereign nation taken those steps, or even requested and funded Google to take those steps, it would likely have been considered an act of war.  How does a “brick and mortar” nation-state go to war against a global multinational corporation?  At what point does the world need to start recognizing that companies with more people and money than many small countries might need to be included in something like the UN, and held to many of the same standards? 

What happens if Microsoft joins the teabaggers and decides to support the overthrow of New York?

2 Comments
  1. Rod says:

    You are spot-on! A book I read in the early 1990’s (unfortunately forgot title) discussed that in the long-run Multinational corporations would become more important than actual nations. I think we are probably in the very starting point of that social evolution. It will be very interesting to see how our world will evolve in the next 200+ years. We probably will have “evolved” into the “joint” civilization depicted in the Star Trek series, or we may have invented robots to do all of our work and wars and be running for our lives from a Battlestar Galactica type extermination…. in either case, I won’t care… I will be pushing daisies :-)

  2. kecia says:

    Wasn’t this kinda close to the story line for the Terminator – it was a corporation who was sending things back to stop people from planting the seeds of trying to change them in the future – basically. Just think you could be the one they come back to hunt out w/ your radical ideas – you may be seen as someone who needs to be TERMINATED. LOL!!! Mwhaaahhaaahhaaa!!

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