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Egyptian government blocks BlackBerry service [UPDATE: Egypt begins Internet blackout]

egypt blackberryThe Egyptian government is blocking more than social media, extending its reach to mobile communication as well. Reports are spilling in from Twitter that BlackBerry devices are now unable to connect to the Internet. According to Twitter, Google is also unreachable.

There has been no response from Egyptian authorities or RIM as of yet. While it’s unfortunate for RIM, which has been plagued by international doubt over its privacy capabilities, it’s harrowing for Egyptian citizens who are quickly losing access to mass communication tools.

The protests are going on day three now, and according to The Telegraph, five are now dead as the riots escalate. The White House has declared the situation stable, Reuters reports that spokesman Robert Gibbs stated that “protesters have an obligation not to engage in violence.”


[UPDATE]

After initially blocking access to social media sites and BlackBerry web services, the Egyptian government has now completed cut off access to the Internet as well as restricted SMS use. Citizens are now virtually without communication tools, and are at risk of being isolated in the midst of violent protests. Some reports from Twitter claim landlines are also down.

The country continues to be plagued by violence as demonstrators call for the upheaval of the current political regime. ReadWriteWeb reports that videos uploaded to Facebook via proxy servers of the riots are being immediately removed, and also questions whether the government’s “’decisive measures’ may be code for ‘massacre.’”