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Vodafone confirms role in Egypt’s cellular, Internet blackout

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An executive at London-based Vodafone Group PLC explained Friday morning that it did indeed have a role in the phone and Internet blackout affecting Egypt since Thursday night, confirming speculation that the firm had cooperated with the regime to close off protesters’ communications.

Vodafone Group CEO Vittorio Colao said that because the order by Egyptian authorities appeared to be in line with the nation’s laws, the company was “obligated” to comply.

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Egypt, which has been under a declared state of “emergency” for decades, long ago passed a series of security provisions that were later mirrored in post-9/11 powers assumed by leaders in the US. Egypt’s provisions, however, went much further.

The Egyptian government’s order to shut down applied to all mobile phone operators and Internet service providers in the country. A graphic depicting Internet traffic to and from the country showed a dramatic and almost complete drop-off starting Thursday morning.

Some land-line service, however, was reportedly still functioning by late Friday. Sporadic reports of working DSL connections surfaced by late Friday as well, and a French Internet service provider had begun offering free dial-up access to Egyptians.

Rumors that neighboring Syria had cut off its Internet access as well surfaced on Friday morning, but follow-up reports found no evidence this was the case.

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Vodafone was for years the Egyptian government’s partner in building and maintaining the regime’s official website and network infrastructure.

Protesters on Friday destroyed Vodafone stores in Cairo, among other locations tied to the ruling regime, according to reports by Al Jazeera English.

In the wake of Iran’s “green revolution,” the relationship between Western technology providers and the country’s oppressive regime became painfully apparent when The Wall Street Journal revealed that Siemens AG and Nokia Corp. aided the development of a digital censorship apparatus.

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“If you sell networks, you also, intrinsically, sell the capability to intercept any communication that runs over them,” a spokesman for the two firms’ joint venture told the paper. He suggested the regime’s “monitoring center,” which even allowed deep-packet inspection and information tampering through Internet back-doors, was a standard part of a larger telecom contract with Iran.

It was unclear whether Vodafone’s government-sponsored network worked similarly in Egypt.

Raw Story’s requests for comment sent to Vodafone’s corporate relations arm did not trigger a reply.

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Vodafone Group PLC owns a 45 percent stake in US communications provider Verizon Wireless.


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‘He didn’t do nothing’: Black kids confront white Philly cops as they terrorize innocent student at bus stop

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A group of children called out Philadelphia police officers who said that they wanted the kids to be "shaking" from the confrontation.

Video posted on social media over the weekend shows a white officer telling a shirtless African-American boy to get in his police cruiser.

The video was posted by Twitter by a user named Asia who claimed to be a student waiting for her bus.

Instagram is helping this get out, but it needs more attraction. This Happened in Philadelphia,Pa on Thursday. A group of school kids and I were waiting for the bus at the bus stop when a cop car came to us, slowed down and stared at us then kept going down the street. pic.twitter.com/OrvOvWf3Oh

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The Trump depression: Experts see a serious psychological depression taking hold in America

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Reviewing “Trump’s Wacky, Angry, and Extreme August” on Twitter, the New Yorker’s Susan Glasser said the experience “was exhausting, a dark journey to a nasty and contentious place.” But that’s hardly news: it’s a place we live in every day. We try to turn the volume down and ignore it, and that may work for a while. But it won’t last. It can’t. It’s getting worse, and we can all see where we’re headed.
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Julian Castro nails McConnell and GOP to the wall for putting ‘sexual predator’ Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court

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Calling into MSNBC's "AM Joy" on Sunday morning, Democratic presidential contender Julian Castro ripped into Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh as a serial sexual predator and said that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the GOP are to blame for his being on the court.

Speaking with host Joy Reid, Castro renewed a call he made late Saturday night for Kavanaugh to be impeached over fresh allegations of sexual assault  before getting down to the heart of the matter.

"Do you believe there was misconduct in this case by the FBI and the Department of Justice or even by the senators who seemed uninterested in finding out of what really happened with this very brief investigation of Mr. Kavanaugh?" Reid asked.

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