Egypt blocks dozens of websites including ‘Medium’ without any official announcement

Pierluigi Paganini June 12, 2017

The Egyptian government blocked a number of websites in Egypt, including the publishing platform Medium, without any official announcement.

Egyptians users of the online publishing platform, Medium were not able to access the service from their country. Readers and bloggers using both desktop and mobile app suffered access problems, the reason of the blackout is still unclear but privacy advocates fear Government censorship.

Recently Egyptian Government blocked several news websites, including MadaMasr, Daily News Egypt, Al Borsa, Al Jazeera, Huffington Post Arabic and others, for supporting terrorism and Muslim Brotherhood.

From 24 May to 11 June, several websites that are licensed to work in Egypt have been blocked, a measured that is considered a violation of the Article 57 stipulating the freedom of media and public’s right to know and to access information.

Officially the Medium service was up & running, the there is no official report about blockage in the last 24 hours across the world, it is likely that the website has been blocked only in Egypt.

Below a screenshot of the error page displayed to the users while trying to access from Egypt.

medium blockage egypt

Below the tweet sent by the Radio Sawa Washington Correspondent, Zaid Benjamin about the alleged blockage.

Medium Bloggers and readers in Egypt expressed frustration over the blockage operated by the Government.

“Blocking of websites in Egypt has continued with the ban of the online publishing platform “Medium” on Saturday.” states the

“Al Bedaiah and El Badil news sites have been blocked on Sunday raising the number of blocked websites to 57, according to the Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE).

In a span of 3 weeks, an unknown body gradually blocked news websites including independent news website “Mada Masr” and the privately-owned Daily News Egypt.”

According to AFTEs report. test conducted by the researchers suggest that Internet monitoring is operated through the Vodafone network,

During blocking tests, it was indicated that there might be Internet monitoring through Vodafone network, according to AFTEs report.

“AFTE has tested the accessibility of blocked sites through a variety of Internet service providers in Egypt (TE Data, Vodafone, Orange, Etisalat, LINKdotNET, NOOR). The association has used the Tor browser, various proxy services and websites, and VPN service to make sure that the sites work outside of Egypt.” states the report. “During OONI blocking tests, the (HTTP Invalid Request Line) test showed data that might indicate Internet monitoring on Vodafone network. The result shows that, based on the technique used in this test, the use of three spy software (BlueCoat, Squid, Privoxy) in 11 different countries, was detected.”

Several members of the press syndicate expressed their opposition to the ban decision.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Egypt, ban)

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