For some it’s a non-issue.

For those who spend most of their time in the blogosphere, on cell phones and social networking sites, it would be huge.

We’re discussing what happened in Egypt – how the internet was “killed”. How cell phone companies were ordered to shut down service. if they shut down the internet post

Within a very short period, many were silenced.


Today’s Lesson

Egypt isn’t the only country which has tampered with internet usage. Other countries regularly ban sites from internet users, sometimes erase derogatory comments about “the powers that be” and even go as far as shutting down sites.

In most parts of the world we have freedom of speech, however, if an emergency were to arise, what happened in Egypt could happen anywhere.

I don’t know about you, but I rely on the internet for a lot.

I take it for granted that the internet will always be there.

For my blogs I use a plugin for automatic backups and the information is sent to my email address. Sometimes I save the file to my hard drive, sometimes I don’t.

I have my favorite blogs I visit. I don’t know the URL for each one, but my (online) RSS feed does.

I have other sites which help me in other aspects of my life. I rely on my (online) Bookmarks to record them.

I can recall a few email addresses, but isn’t that what an online email address book is for?

My social networking sites keep a list of my friends and followers so I feel no need to memorize their user names.

Some of my passwords are written down, but some are “remembered” (online) from previous visits.

When I think about it, if the internet was “killed”, I’d be scrambling.

I might even panic.

But, it’s my fault.

I’ve put too much trust into an inanimate object which could be taken away in the blink of an eye.

How about you?

Today’s Assignment

If someone pulled the “kill switch” on the internet, how would you react?

How much of your reference or backup material would be lost?

Or have you planned ahead?

Care to share?

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Gail Gardner and Barbara Swafford, Stan Carter Jr.. Stan Carter Jr. said: If They Shut It Down To Shut Us Up […]

  2. daffyNo Gravatar says:

    i definitely agree with you. if internet gets killed i would be scrambling also. i never really think about it, but your post is kind of scary for me coz i rely so much on the internet.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Daffy,

      True. It’s not something we think about, but after hearing about what happened in Egypt, it made me realize it could happen anywhere.

  3. Hi Barbara.
    It’s hard to imagine not having the Internet. I’ve got into the habit of writing clients’ phone numbers down when I’m working on a project with them, just in case our email goes down. Doing business online has been made a lot easier, I have to tell you. When I’m proofreading, I rarely have to call a courier to send a package anymore. Just emailing marked-up PDFs will suffice. If the Internet went down it would take some getting used to because I do take it for granted.
    Check out Davina Haisell’s awesome post.An Erotic Poem- From Wild to RoseMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Davina,

      We do, don’t we? Take the internet for granted. I can imagine for your editing and proofreading business, being able to communicate via email not only makes it easier, but quicker, as well.

      On that same note, for those businesses who are not online, I’ll bet the competition who is, ends up with the upper hand due to the speed at which they can expedite jobs.

  4. Ditto, ditto, ditto. Similar thoughts have crossed my mind, Barbara. Not only of an end to Internet, but simply not having a computer at my fingertips.

    If the Internet was taken away, after withdrawal, I would hand write a request to someone in a connected country, divulge my password and have a blog post done for me.

    Good grief. Am I really that hooked? Yes!
    Check out Amy@ Soul Dipper’s awesome post.A Love Letter to LeslieMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Amy,

      Yes. It does sound like you’re hooked. πŸ™‚

      Your comment reminds me of how we get so used to having computer access, we often forget how it was before technology was a part of the picture. Although it’s fun to reminisce, like you, I rely on a computer for a lot.

  5. suzenNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barb!
    OMG what a nightmare scenario! Yet I giggle in a way because I have written some very anti-government FDA, USDA, etc. blogs and wonder if I’m tempting a wipe-out of myself! Like Big Brother is watching. But I’m only one wee voice out there doing it – “they” would, I’m sure, go after the bigger sites first.

    I’m not at all prepared for any kind of a shut down, not at all. Which is almost strange since I’m well stocked for food outage emergencies. I guess if something unimaginable (to me) happened, at least I’d eat! Sure I’d go thru a withdrawl, but I’d probably go paint in my dusty art studio, restore some antique quilts languishing in the closet, bake bread, and let Monkey Mind take over. Life is what you make it no matter what is happening around you. I’m prepared to go thru something (undefined) that shifts from life as we KNEW it, to “other” – at least intellectually AND with food!

    Check out suzen’s awesome post.Are You NutsMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Suzen,

      That’s a good point. When we write derogatory posts about governmental issues, it does make us wonder if we could be targeted to be shut down. But like you said, they’d probably go after the “big boys” first, so at least there would be warning signs.

      True. If for some reason we didn’t have computer access, I’m sure we’d all find something else enjoyable to replace this activity with.

  6. You mean there is a world outside these 4 walls? I use the internet to run a business so that would be affected obviously, but a lot of the traditional stuff (I build custom motorcycles for enjoyment) would be affected as I now have access to tools and information that 20 years ago I didn’t.

    If it did go I would like it to take a lot of the rubbish we have to live with nowadays, all the pc crap and leave us with some kind of Mad Max world where I could spend all my time hunting for petrol, I wouldn’t want an in between world

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Rally Stall,

      LOL. Yes, there is a world outside of the PC.

      You’ve raised a good point. Prior to computers we didn’t have access to as much information as we do now. Plus, where else can we find like minded people with the same interests who are willing to share their findings freely (such as on forums)?

  7. Keith DavisNo Gravatar says:

    No internet, no email?
    That would be the equivalent of taking my daughters mobile phone from her… just can’t imagine it.

    I backup my site and database on my hard drive and backup my hard drive to an external hard drive about once a week.

    In terms of passwords, we’re told to use wordpress passwords with 12 to 14 characters and not just numbers and letters but all sorts of characters.
    Keeps you safe from brute force attacks but dosen’t help you to remember the passwords.
    You can tell that I read John Hoffs posts can’t you? LOL

    I keep all my login info on a notepad text document and I keep a hard copy of that document.
    Check out Keith Davis’s awesome post.Oscar Speeches and the 3 G’sMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Keith,

      Yes. I can tell you’ve read John Hoff’s posts on blog security and backups. He’s good, hey?

      That’s a good idea; to not only have a text document for our blog information/passwords, but a hard copy, as well. Better safe than sorry.

  8. Gail GardnerNo Gravatar says:

    This is a perfect testimonial to why we need to have OFFLINE copies of our most important information. I use Tomboy Notes and highly encourage everyone to start saving ALL of their favorite blogs and reference resources in a place THEY control.

    Taking this a step further, there are some things – like important phone numbers – that need to be saved ON PAPER because there ARE times when there is no power. With the deregulation of utiliies, rolling blackouts are a reality many places. California was hard hit and recently Texas lost power to street lights and even subway-like trains in Dallas because of rolling blackouts caused by profit-motivated commodities trading.
    Check out Gail Gardner’s awesome post.Reviews Online – Can You Trust ThemMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Gail,

      Thank you for the heads up on Tomboy Notes. I hadn’t heard of it, but it sounds like something worth looking into to.

      Good point! It’s not just the government that could shut down our PC and other modes of communication, but like you said, utility companies, too. Recently we had power outages due to bad weather.

  9. Alex@JocuriNo Gravatar says:

    Hello Barbara,

    I think many governments try to control the population by shutting down the internet which is a liberal place were truly anyone can share their thoughts and opinions.

    Look at Google who was banished from Chine because it provided Chinese people with accurate information about their regime.

    What would I do if someone would suddenly pull the switch on the internet? I think I would stand up and demand my rights, I would demand my right to freedom and access to information on the streets. I think the revolution in Egypt was actually fueled by the this.
    I don’t know why, but when I think of information on the internet and the freedom it provides, I think of the saying “I may disagree to what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it”
    Check out Alex@Jocuri’s awesome post.Salonul de manichiuraMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Alex,

      That’s true. Some of the backlash in Egypt was fueled by their inability to access the internet.

      Thank you for sharing the quote (at the end of your comment). It says it all, doesn’t it?

  10. It’s very difficult for me to imagine life without the internet, the main reason is that I spend so much time on it. I work on the web, I spend leisure time, like now, browsing blogs and looking for information. It just wouldn’t seem right without the internet – it’s been so long that I have forgotten what it was like pre www.

  11. JosephNo Gravatar says:

    I depend on the internet a lot for correspondence, and would, of course, be unable to correspond via the internet if it was down. I would, however, still have my own data, as I keep local backups of everything–somewhat less frequently than Keith Davis’s once a week, but fairly regularly. E-mail I access via POP3 and SMTP, and have local copies of it all.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Joseph,

      That’s wise to keep backups of the information we share online. Even if we lost our connection for a short period of time, at least we’d have access to our important documents/correspondence.

  12. it’s really very difficult to imagine this situation of killing internet totally. I hope this will never happen.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Kavita,

      Yes, it would be difficult to imagine not having internet access, however, I think we should be prepared if it were to happen (even on a small scale).

  13. FreddyNo Gravatar says:

    I see you are still at it! I love your blog you so much good information. I’m back at it myself! Thank goodness they have not shut us down or shut us up just yet!
    Check out Freddy’s awesome post.The GM Diet! Fad Diet Fred SeriesMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Freddy,

      Aren’t blogs great? We get to share our thoughts and opinions and hopefully help others in the process.

  14. RyanNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks for writing on this topic! I didn’t think about this before you wrote this.

    But it is true we shouldn’t allow governments to do this.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Ryan,

      I agree. We shouldn’t let the government take control over the internet. Not only could that take away our ability to communicate with others, but it would take away our freedom of speech, as well.

  15. Not having the internet would shut so many of us down. I think so many of us take for granted what we have here and are not educated about what is going on elsewhere. We often as society do depend on technology too often but to be denied internet access would just be devestating for so many. Great post. Love this site.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Seattle Laminates,

      You’re right. We do take the internet for granted. In the event we were to lose it, even for a few days, it would be a huge wake up call. All the more reason to have a “plan B” and back up that which we’d need if that were to happen.

  16. RichardNo Gravatar says:

    If they killed the net, I’d loose a majority of my connections with the outside world. Right now, I use the net for my phone, tv and of course blogging/communication needs. I’d have to make a rapid change to adapt and maintain contact with the world. πŸ™‚
    Check out Richard’s awesome post.Creating a Premium Article for Your BlogMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Richard,

      I can see why that would be a bad situation for you. I know our cable company offers phone service too, but I’ve been hesitant to sign up knowing “all my eggs would be in one basket”. After reading your comment, I’ve decided to stick with an independent phone company. (Not to say they wouldn’t have problems too, but maybe not….)

  17. Whereas I would freak like a little girl I have to admit that I have access to every single password on my computer instead of relying on something on the computer. I don’t have a Gmail account and I haven’t gotten into cloud computing, so no files online. Any site that I access online that has to do with money I can get to via regular mail or by phone.

    That doesn’t mean I’d like it, or wouldn’t want to pitch a fit. I just think that, at least in the U.S, there are so many internet providers that the government could shut things down if it wanted to. Maybe here and there, but across the entire country… no way. And that’s why I’m staying right here.
    Check out Mitch Mitchell’s awesome post.Do You Want Accountability Or ActivityMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Mitch,

      I know exactly what you’re saying. The inconvenience would be maddening.

      I agree. In the U.S. it would be pretty difficult, if not impossible to shut down the entire internet. That said, if they tried, I don’t think the officials would be prepared to handle the repercussions. It wouldn’t be a pretty sight.

  18. I kind of though about this as everything was playing out. You know, I think that there are just so many good hackers out there that someone, somewhere would find a way to get online.

    Personally, though, I don’t think the likelihood of this happening is very probable.
    Check out fishing organizations’s awesome post.Bowfin – Learn Some Tips and Info to Help You Catch a Lot More of ThemMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Fishing Organizations,

      I have to agree with you. I don’t think it would happen either, but on the other hand, I don’t think it hurts to be prepared.

  19. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    An interesting topic and not something I’d want to experience. I depend on the internet not just for blogging, but for keeping up with friends and family, my social activities and meetings, paying bills, ordering prescriptions and shopping. It would be distressing to have to go back to doing things the old fashioned way.
    Check out Linda’s awesome post.Quote of the WeekMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Linda,

      That’s true. It would be distressing to go back to the old way of doing things. Your comment reminded me of how the internet has “spoiled” us. *sigh*

  20. CarlaNo Gravatar says:

    Internet is a part of our lives and take it him down is look they want take it we down. I hope i will never experience this kind of “problems”.

  21. If the internet would get the pull switch, I’d lose my source of income. I help my family and share what I receive from work. It’s not a lot but we can live with it. I hope this won’t happen because getting another job would be harder and take lots of time.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Spencer,

      I think a lot of folk rely on the internet for their income. Although it’s not likely it would ever be shut down, I do think we should have some type of a back up plan.

  22. BillyNo Gravatar says:

    Hello Barbara,

    You’ve certainly put everything in perspective for me. After reading your post I was quite alarmed about what my state of affairs would be if I suddenly lost access. Yipes! So I am making a conscious effort this week to starting complete backups of my online address books, online backups, passwords, etc to an external hdd. I don’t know if I keep this up on a regular basis because I’ve grown so complacent but at least I will have a base.
    Check out Billy’s awesome post.What is BAC and How is it CalculatedMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Billy,

      I’m happy to hear this post helped you become aware of how much information you have online but hadn’t been keeping hard copies of. I think a lot of us are in the same boat since our reliance on the internet lets us become complacent.

  23. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    I back up on an external hard drive weekly and I keep my passwords and addresses in several places. When I was doing counseling, I learned a lot about privacy and confidence building.

    If these big corporations keep at it, we may all be losing the Internet because they will put on restrictions to make themselves more and more money – the internet right now is amazingly inexpensive and some cities like Cleveland offer it free on every light pole – Greed and Control very interesting…

    I do not want to be the in the first group of Internet Controllers pricing me out of the market, but they are getting close to my door step.

    It looks like credit cards are getting too much compensation so now or very soon we will be able to purchase with our smart phones and save the merchants thousands of dollars a month.

    If the Internet continues as it is, we can achieve re-localization in our own neighborhoods at a much faster and greener rate…but it looks like we are not only going to lose women’s health needs but also NPR and PBS….because as diabetes bankrupts the Nation it also makes some corporations huge amounts of money …

    This is a truly complex issue Barbara and you have only given it a gentle nudge, but then so many will think this comment is too political. I need to stop here
    Check out Patricia’s awesome post.MEN IN TREESMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Patricia,

      Yes. Politics can play a part in the future of the internet, but hopefully we never lose our freedom of speech. I like your idea of backing up to an external hard drive on weekly basis and keeping your passwords and addresses in several places. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

  24. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara .. it is a bit frightening isn’t it – but then the Google farms around the world have everything stored x times over – and cloud computing allows us to store things away from our machines.

    But backing up regularly or daily is essential -especially businesses .. and keeping a hard copy note of passwords, addresses, emails, phone nos .. nothing better than the old days of pen and pencil and any print screens you can get out .. as safety measures.

    If the internet disappeared altogether – we’d no longer be global .. we’d be back to villages and the horse and cart?!

    Cheers Hilary
    Check out Hilary’s awesome post.Content is King – is it not How about Passion My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Hilary,

      I agree. It can be a bit frightening, but I also think we need to be prepared. Even though so much of our stuff is stored online, if something drastic were to happen, we’d have no way of accessing it.

      You’re right. Without the internet, we’d no longer be global. I’d have to get your address so we could write to each other from across the pond. πŸ™‚

  25. There are some very serious consideration to your post: how would a country “survive” if the internet went down only for them? (access to the internet is becoming strategic in case of war.) It would have catastrophic economic repercussions – especially short term.

    Like you, most things I do are done online (credit score verification, online applications etc…) even my phone system relies on the internet (VOIP). And its the same for most of the people and businesses I know.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Dave,

      True. There could be serious implications if the internet went, or was put down; not just on the little guy, but on big government, as well.

      You know, I don’t think we realize how much of our life depends on the internet. Like you mentioned, your phone. If we stop to think about it, in some ways it’s like the internet makes the world go around. In some ways, that’s kind of scary.

  26. AnnaNo Gravatar says:

    I think if the government bans the Internet, this country is already dead. It’s like cutting off the oxygen with a sick man – he will die. This country will be in an information vacuum and … needs help.
    Personally, I think i can stay without the internet for a week but no more. The Internet is the world, a parallel world.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Anna,

      Like you, I could live without the internet for a short period of time, but to go back to the way it used to be could be a real challenge. πŸ™

  27. Tech LooserNo Gravatar says:

    I can not imagine my life without the internet. I dont watch TV, I dont really watch movies. My only entertainment is this.

    I guess I’d go insane πŸ™‚
    Check out Tech Looser’s awesome post.Get Online Using IPv6 Even Without Native IPv6 ConnectivityMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Tech Looser,

      If our life is online, we could very easily feel like we’d go insane without it. Fortunately I still remember life BEFORE the internet and would probably go back to reading books again. πŸ™‚

  28. I have an email subscription to my own blog so that I have a copy of every post I publish, but email would not be accessible if they shut down the internet! Unimaginable.
    And this is when I am not even counting online bill payments and all the pass words that are saved by Firefox!
    Check out Indian Homemaker’s awesome post.Remember the Anonymous Confused WifeMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Indian Homemaker,

      I like your idea of subscribing to your own blog as a way to have a “back up” of each of your posts. Granted, if the internet was shut down those could be lost, but at least you have them in more than just one place. πŸ™‚

  29. Sinea PiesNo Gravatar says:

    When I saw the title in the sidebar I knew I had to read this post. I, too, have thought about the possibilities of them pulling the plug on the internet. When you depend on writing online for part or all of your income, that is scary. In addition, there is something addicting to working online so much.

    Just yesterday I decided to stop. Completely. I did not check email or even touch my computer from 1:00 pm until I got to work today at 9:30am. It felt really good! I needed an Internet Vacation! I read, caught up on some cleaning, had quality time with my family. I wouldn’t want it forced on me but a rest from Cyber World once in a while is healthy.
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