Even though it would be next to impossible, for various logistical and legal reasons, for a similar “Internet kill switch” to be enacted in the U.S., that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be thinking about these things now. With a system like Tor, we can use the freedom we have here online to help those who need it elsewhere. When a crisis erupts somewhere in the world, we often wonder what we can do to help. (There’s a flood—should we donate money? There’s an earthquake—should we donate blood?) Now we should ask the question: there’s a regime suppressing its people’s rights to free speech and open communication—should we donate bandwidth?

*[Update: Several hours after this post was published, on Thursday evening, news broke that Noor Group, the last ISP remaining online in Egypt, had also gone offline. But dial-up service was still available; more detailed information here.]

Lauren Kirchner is a freelance writer covering digital security for CJR. Find her on Twitter at @lkirchner