After blocking Twitter on Tuesday and, intermittently, Facebook and Google on Wednesday, the Egyptian government has upped the ante, throwing a complete Internet access block across the whole of the country. Additionally blocked are Blackberry service and SMS.
Reports are pouring in, many to Twitterers via landline, that the country has been "cut off" and is now a "black hole."
I hesitate to rely on the cloud for three basic reasons. First, I have a very slow internet connection. Trying to keep and maintain a media collection is a headache for me. Hulu is the only cloud service I use, and only because it’s faster than downloading shows. Even then, I use the lowest resolution settings and still find that I often have to wait for shows to buffer, and that shows will occasionally black out on me. I hate when this happens, and simply want to avoid altogether if possible.
Furthermore, there are occasions when cloud services go offline or get overloaded. Last.fm has been having this problem of late, and I do not want to have to deal with it. I would rather use my own disk space than have to hope that my favorite site is working again. It’s simply easier to acquire my own media and store it locally.
Finally, as the recent events in Egypt have demonstrated, I don’t want data access to be dependent on the whims of the government. If I want to listen to Blue Chandelier sing about the problems facing society (from a libertarian perspective, of course), I don’t want to have to hope that the president is in a generous mood. I’m sure there are some who think that this sort of thing can’t happen here. Well guess what? Thanks to the FCC and net neutrality, we’re already on this path. The government has asserted that it has the right to regulate the internet, and you can be sure that will eventually come back to haunt us, even if it seems beneficial in the early stages. I want no part of it.
So, if you’re paying attention, it should be obvious that the best course of action is to store up as much media as possible on your local hard drives. If the government wants to shut down the internet, you’ll have plenty of resources at your disposal. And even if the worst-case scenario never occurs, you’ll at least be able to entertain yourself in the event of a network outage.