Today, London-based mobile telecommunications company Vodafone posted a message on its website confirming what many, particularly those on Twitter, using the service have suspected to be true – that the Egyptian government has been able to dictate messages coming out of its country.
Under the emergency powers provisions of the Telecoms Act, the Egyptian authorities can instruct the mobile networks of Mobinil, Etisalat and Vodafone to send messages to the people of Egypt. They have used this since the start of the protests. These messages are not scripted by any of the mobile network operators and we do not have the ability to respond to the authorities on their content.
Vodafone Group has protested to the authorities that the current situation regarding these messages is unacceptable. We have made clear that all messages should be transparent and clearly attributable to the originator.
In a nutshell: The government has been using its power to send pro-government messages out of Egypt, adding fuel to suspicions that it has been organizing other pro-government efforts in the midst of protests, including bands of pro-Mubarak demonstrators who have sometimes turned violent against fellow Egyptians and foreign journalists alike.
Yesterday, Vodafone released a statement alerting users that it had restored voice services to its customers following a period of suspended service in “selected areas.”
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