The New York Times Magazine is running a story about the rise in political activism in Egypt through sites like Facebook, which allow citizens to gather and share ideas in ways they otherwise aren't allowed. A state-of-emergency law has been active in Egypt since 1981, which, among other things, "allows the government to ban political organizations and makes it illegal for more than five people to gather without a license from the government." As affordable internet access has spread throughout the country, the government is having a much harder time keeping wraps on the ideas of dissidents. Blocking access to the sites isn't a good solution for the government, because many non-dissidents use it for mundane communications. As Harvard's Ethan Zuckerman puts it, "...doing so would alert a large group of people who they can't afford to radicalize."
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