We try to avoid talking too much about politics, but one piece of news this week caught my eye. The Libyan rebels, with the help of some Middle Eastern and Libyan-American friends, were able to hijack Gadhafi’s Libyana cellular network.
In the early days of the rebellion, Gadhafi shut off cell phones and internet to stem the flow of information out of Libya. Since then the rebels have had to communicate via semaphore, and while flag signals are kind of a bad ass way of communicating, it sucks as a primary communication tool.
Ousama Abushagar, a Libyan-American telecom executive, got together a few childhood friends and raised funding in order to infiltrate Libyana and pirate their cellular signal. The United Arab Emirates and Qatar both provided the millions of dollars worth of equipment needed to make this plan work, showing their support of the rebel government. Etisalat, a UAE cellular service, provided use of one of their satellites for the pirate cell phone network. Eventually the plan rolled out and Free Libyana was born. International calls are extremely limited currently, but hey… who can complain when all domestic calls are free. Beat that AT&T!