Has Egypt cut off Internet access amid Tahrir protests, or is network just overloaded?

As protests in Egypt’s Tahrir Square continue late into the night over President Mohamed Morsi’s declaration of dictator-like powers, protesters and sympathizers are wondering if Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood have cut off Internet and cellphone access as part of Morsi’s power grab.

https://twitter.com/jadaliyya/status/272044030551003136

Photos from the scene show thousands gathered in Tahrir with no sign of dispersing, despite reports of tear gas being fired into the crowd.

Egypt has shut down access to social networks before. Under former president Hosni Mubarak, the government had blocked access to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube in January of 2011 — a development no one is anxious to see again.

Others, though, are calling the claims a false alarm and citing overloaded networks.

As we all know, social networks can spread misinformation just as quickly as the truth. Is it possible that rumors of an Internet crackdown are disguising an ulterior motive? Some are encouraging residents in the area to turn off the security on their home Wifi networks to help protesters communicate. Could the reports be a large “phishing” attempt?

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