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Egypt government denies Twitter block

Hacktivists attack Egypt government websites in support of protests

Egypt government denies Twitter block
The Egyptian government has denied blocking Twitter in the country. The service is currently working across the country.

Egypt's government has flatly denied that it has blocked Twitter and Facebook in the country. The social networking sites were being use to organise demonstrations in Cairo, calling for President Hosni Mubarak to step down.

According to the BBC, a government spokesperson has said the government respects freedom of expression.

Twitter has confirmed that its site had been blocked on Tuesday evening, although the site was back up by Thursday afternoon, according to tweeters.

"The government would not resort to such methods," the government's Magdy Rady told the BBC.

New reports have suggested that Facebook is also being periodically blocked, as it too was being used to organise protests and garner support for the demonstrations.

"Facebook slow and crashes every couple of hours," said one tweeter from Egypt.

However, the site is accessible at the moment.

"We are aware of reports of disruption to service but have not seen any major changes in traffic from Egypt," a spokesperson for Facebook said.

The site has not revealed whether it has implemented any technical measures to keep the site up and running.

Online hacktivists belonging to a group called Anonymous have begun attacking Egyptian government websites in support of the protest; they have claimed to have taken down the Egyptian interior ministry's website.  "In support of today's protests in#Egypt, http://www.moiegypt.gov.eg/is now offline. #OpEgypt #SidiBouzid#OpTunisia #OpAlgeria," Anonymous tweeted.

Anonymous first came to the world's notice after its cyber-attacks on Scientology sites and more recently on sites deemed to be anti-Wikileaks.

It has since used denial-of-service attacks for  other political protests in countries such as Tunisia and Egypt. These attacks swamp websites with huge volumes of traffic, forcing them offline.

Anonymous was also offering advice to Egyptian tweeters as to what third party sites to use to get round the Twitter ban in the country.

The latest Twitter reports have said that Wi-Fi users across Cairo are removing the passwords on their Wi-Fi networks to allow protestors to communicate with each other.

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