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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

 

Hacking Iraq

`Since the military provides just 6 to 12 computers for every 1,000 or so troops, time limits of 10 to 15 minutes per day are often enforced at Morale Welfare Recreation Cafés (the complicated name for military internet cafés). Anyone who sorts through spam, reads forwarded articles and jokes, then tries to respond to “real” email knows 15 minutes isn’t enough. Josh Hines, a soldier from Conway who recently returned from Iraq , confirmed that the Army lacks internet services and lamented the scarcity of entertainment options.

It should come as no surprise, then, that some enterprising military personnel have engineered an alternative. Hajjinets, the common term for troop-owned ISPs, have sprung to life on almost every base around Iraq. A typical Hajjinet is built and maintained by one or two soldiers and can provide nearly 24-hour internet access (until the region is stabilized and electrical lines can be installed, generators must occasionally be powered down for maintenance). Most Hajjinets are small, serving between 20 and 30 troops, but ISPs serving as many as 300 are known to exist.’




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