Egypt’s government cuts internet in the country when anti-government protesters announce a “March of millions” against President Hosni Mubarak? Google & Twitter, in response, trick the system and help Egyptians in the name of democracy and freedom.
A small team of engineers from Google, Twitter and the new acquisition, SayNow, joined their efforts to create a “speak-to-tweet” service that allows people without an internet connection to leave a voice-mail message, which is automatically turned into a tweet.
“It’s already live and anyone can tweet by simply leaving a voicemail on one of these international phone numbers (+16504194196 or +390662207294 or +97316199855) and the service will instantly tweet the message using the hashtag #egypt. No Internet connection is required. People can listen to the messages by dialing the same phone numbers or going to twitter.com/speak2tweet.” – Google revealed.
Egyptian troops have been posted at key locations last Tuesday, protests are getting stronger and the government has also shut down mobile phone networks, banks and schools, and endured the already significant presence of powerful military in the streets.
“The presence of the armed forces in the Egyptian streets is for your benefit to protect your safety and peace” said a spokesman for the army, but Human Rights Watch have confirmed 80 deaths in Cairo, 36 in Alexandria and 13 in Suez. It doesn’t look to be so safe to me.
Plus, the crisis has paralyzed commerce and daily life in Egypt – ATMs are not operating, gas stations ran out of fuel… – setting the whole country economy back six months with an estimated loss of $12 billion.
Egypt has been under President Mubarak, currently ranked 20th on Parade Magazine‘s 2009 World’s Worst Dictators list, for almost 30 years and it has been a semi-presidential republic under Emergency Law for 43 years. Under this law, police powers are extended, constitutional rights are suspended and censorship is legalized.
Egyptians are now claiming their right to speak and social media are coming very handy for the purpose. The speak-to-tweet service works with landlines as well. Will they shut down that too? haha
Our dear technology still wins, while Egyptians prepare for “March of Millions”.
Photos courtesy of: CNN