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Political and Economic Implications of Authoritarian Control of the Internet

Abstract : During the early days of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, the Mubarak regime shut down all Egyptian Internet access with the exception of one service provider, Noor ADSL. Analysts have noted that President Mubarak, in attempting to restrict Internet access, suffered from the dictator’s digital dilemma, and have speculated that Noor’s exceptional treatment was due to its role as a telecommunications provider for the Egyptian Stock Exchange. This paper shows, through an analysis of events, that stock exchange connectivity could not have been the rationale for Noor’s continued services and that transaction cost economics, as described by North’s theory of the state, provides a more thorough explanation for Mubarak’s selective intervention with regard to Internet service. Decisions made during this series of events have implications beyond the Arab Spring. Insights are drawn from the particular case of Noor’s role in the Egyptian Revolution and, in the process, a model is developed for future examination of the general case of the potential for loss of critical Internet infrastructure service under authoritarian governments.
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Daniel Arnaudo, Aaron Alva, Phillip Wood, Jan Whittington. Political and Economic Implications of Authoritarian Control of the Internet. 7th International Conference on Critical Infrastructure Protection (ICCIP), Mar 2013, Washington, DC, United States. pp.3-19, ⟨10.1007/978-3-642-45330-4_1⟩. ⟨hal-01456889⟩

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