Skip to main content

Missing Google marketing exec Wael Ghonim released by Egyptian authorities

Missing Google marketing executive Wael Ghonim has been released from Egyptian custody, according to the U.S. State Department.

“We have indeed received confirmation of his release,” State Department spokesperson Mark Toner tells the Wall Street Journal.

The report confirms earlier news that Ghonim was being detained by government authorities in Egypt, and would be released today.

Mr. Ghonim disappeared on January 28, amidst protests in Cairo, Egypt, and the five-day Internet blackout that followed. The Google executive was reportedly one of the primary leaders in the movement of Internet activists who sparked the wave of protests that continue to rock Egypt’s political system. He is also believed to be the anonymous host of the Facebook page that first called for protests to begin on January 25.

Google had been actively searching for Ghonim since February 1, when they released a public statement, which included a phone number to call, if anyone had information about their employee’s whereabouts.

After reports that he’d gone missing went public, Ghonim quickly became a symbol of the anti-government movement in Egypt. Video of Ghonim reportedly being detained by Egyptian plainclothes officers, which was posted by Al Jazeera English to its website on February 5, further elevated his status as a hero in the Middle Eastern country’s movement to establish a democratically elected government there.

Mr. Ghonim is said to be just one in a group of technology consultants who voluntarily worked for Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei. At least seven of those in the group, aside from Ghonim, were detained by authorities, and subsequently released.

Followers and fans of Mr. Ghonim are anxiously awaiting a message from him via his Twitter feed, which has remained silent since an ominous January 27 post that read: “Pray for #Egypt. Very worried as it seems that government is planning a war crime tomorrow against people. We are all ready to die #Jan25”

Editors' Recommendations

How to remove personal info from Google search
Google Pixel XL

Recently, Google revealed it is expanding the sphere of personal information that can be removed from search results. As part of this change, users will be able to remove sensitive personal such as contact details and login credentials. Previously, this was limited to just bank details. The updated policy enables users to have more control over their data that can be accessed by a basic Google search.

Read more
DuckDuckGo calls out Google privacy update for ‘creepy advertising’
Google Logo

Internet privacy company DuckDuckGo is speaking up again about its gripes with Google and its upcoming plans to replace third-party cookies in the Chrome browser with updated tracking and ad targeting methods.

DuckDuckGo said in a recent blog post that despite Google's insistence about its transition to using Google Topics and FLEDGE instead of third-party cookies to give you more control over your personal data, the new methods might be just as invasive, as the tech company implements it Privacy Sandbox update onto Chrome.

Read more
Same cesspool, different stench — welcome to Elon’s Twitter
Elon Musk.

Elon Musk -- billionaire, entrepreneur, prominent shitposter -- is joining the board of Twitter. It's not the world's biggest social network, with a fraction of the number of monthly users as Facebook. It's arguably not even the worst social network. That's a superlative I'd reserve for Facebook, too, without hesitation.

And, yes, there's almost certainly a correlation between the sheer number of people connected and the amount of noise and general malaise on a platform. But that's another post for another time.

Read more