How To Get Online After The Government Shuts Down The Internet

We just told you the method Egypt used to block internet access, but reports are coming in on Twitter and elsewhere that some Egyptians have been able to get online by other means.

Since phone lines are still working, one way is to go old school and find a dial up service. It’s slow, but better than nothing.

Lifehacker suggests trying the global dialup ISP Budget Dialup or the French ISP FDN, which is providing free access to users in Egypt.

One site worth checking out is the forum OPENMESH that was just launched as a resource for finding ways to help Egyptians get back online, TechCrunch says. They’re looking for people with a tech background who may be able to skirt around the block. If you have any ideas, share them on Twitter using the #OPENMESH hashtag.

Don’t miss: Our live blog of the Egyptian protests.

WikiLeaks alternative OpenLeaks goes live

OpenLeaks, the alternative whistleblower site created by WikiLeaks defectors, has officially gone live, though it’s not yet fully operational. The organization confirmed that it doesn’t plan to publish information itself, but rather help third parties (such as nonprofits and news orgs) get access to leaked documents in order to convey them to the public.

The launch of OpenLeaks was spoiled somewhat by, ironically, a leaked PDF of its site contents published on The OpenLeaks news page seems to welcome this leak, but warns that not all parts of the site are complete yet and that it’s still operating in an alpha phase. OpenLeaks plans to enter into beta in the second half of 2011, when it will begin working with NGOs, media, unions, and others to publish relevant information.

“OpenLeaks will not accept or publish documents on its own platform, but rather create many ‘digital dropboxes’ for its community members, each adapted to the specific needs of our members so that they can provide a safe and trusted leaking option for whistleblowers,” reads the site. There’s also an informational video on Vimeo that spells out the OpenLeaks process visually.

News about OpenLeaks began trickling in last November after a number of WikiLeaks members left the organization, reportedly due to disagreements with Julian Assange. A month later, an insider outlined OpenLeaks’ mission to act as a neutral party “without a political agenda,” and that it would be “democratically governed by all its members, rather than limited to one group or individual.”

That “one group or individual” is clearly a reference to Julian Assange, who has become known as a control freak when it comes to managing WikiLeaks. Assange had reportedly accused several WikiLeaks members of being disloyal to the project, resulting in their departure from WikiLeaks and the birth of OpenLeaks.

Despite the backstory, the OpenLeaks FAQ tries to convey the feeling that there’s no bad blood between the two groups. “While we fully support the stated goals of WikiLeaks, and wish them success, OpenLeaks is an independent project,” reads the page. “OpenLeaks is, therefore, not an enhancement of, or a replacement for, WikiLeaks, nor is it a competitor. Rather, it is a complementary project providing capabilities other than those that WikiLeaks does, or can, provide.”

As for which organizations will eventually leak the documents collected by OpenLeaks, the group says that half of its “members” will be handpicked by the OpenLeaks community while the other half will be able to go through a public application process. That won’t happen until later this year, though, as OpenLeaks is still in the process of building its system to accept documents.