Ousted Egyptian prez fined £20m for net cut-off

BT engineers left quaking in boots

Ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has been hit with a £20m fine for cutting off the internet during the popular revolt in the country earlier this year.

Reuters reports that an administrative court slapped the former prez and two other former officials with the fines over the weekend.

As well as Mubarak's 200m Egyptian pounds (£20m) charge, former prime minister Ahmed Nazif has been fined 40m Egyptian pounds, while interior minister Habib al-Adli has been hit for 300m Egyptian pounds.

Egyptian's former regime cut the internet, and phone services, as protests mounted in February. The revolution was seen as being largely powered by Facebook and other social networks, so the old guard reasoned that cutting off communications would keep a lid on public anger.

Unfortunately, as Google marketing exec turned revolutionary icon Wael Ghonim explained a couple of weeks ago, it actually pushed people back on the streets, as they wanted to find out what was happening.

The former Egyptian government also commandeered mobile phone networks to send pro-regime texts to Egyptian citizens.

Reuters reports that Egypt's communications industry plans to pay compensation to Vodafone and other operators who were inconvenienced in this way.

This weekend's fines cover the regime's attempts to prop up its rule by commandeering the net. However, it's likely that former officials' troubles are far from over as they are set to face much more significant charges over the deaths of protestors, not to mention years of alleged corruption. ®

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