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It seemed so easy in Egypt. Could the same happen in the U.S.?

Discussion: Internet experts say no, shutting down the entire U.S. Internet would be pretty much impossible.  Both the technical infrastructure and the legal framework within the U.S. would prevent the government from fully clamping down on the country’s thousands of Internet providers.  And shutting down the global Internet would be even a bigger, unlikely feat.  According to one industry expert, “the Internet is so decentralized that there is no kill switch.”


Date: February 3, 2011


Questions for discussion:

  • What is a Border Gateway Protocol and how was it altered by Egyptian Internet providers in order to discard all Internet traffic going in and out of the country?
  • Discuss how dial-up Internet access can undermine a government’s ability to shut down Internet access.
  • Three U.S. Senators have submitted legislation to give the President emergency powers over the Internet in the event of a cyberattack or other disaster scenario.  Discuss your initial reaction to this kind of legislation.

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