Internet, government blackouts are increasing at a worrying rate

A study has surveyed 850 in the last ten years, of which 768 in the last five. In 2021 alone, 50 have already been registered. Blockades are used to silence dissidents

Foto: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Turn off the internet to try to stifle or prevent dissent it has become more and more normal for governments so that several million people around the world have lived quasi 850 blackout in the last decade.

The estimate is the result of Shutdown tracker optimization project (Stop) of the non-profit Access Now and is reported in The Current, a recent online report of the Google Jigsaw think tank, with the collaboration of #KeepItOn, a breakfast of organizations that monitor theinternet access around the world. The publication, in addition to making the history of network blackouts and listing the numbers of this threat, also tries to understand the reasons and methods and to trace methods of resistance.

Secondo Access Now 768 of the 850 interruptions estimates have occurred over the past five years. There were 213 in 2019 alone, a figure that dropped to 155 in 2020, the year of the Covid-19 pandemic. Already in first five months of 2021 have been registered 50 blocks of the network in 21 countries, such as those decided by the Ethiopian government engaged in a civil war and by the junta of Myanmar, which took power in a coup in February.

The first internet blackout intentionally caused by the authorities dates back to 2007 and was the work of president of Guinea Lansana Conté. In 2011, when the Arab springs rocked the Middle East and North Africa, theEgypt by Hosni Mubarak it is the first country to remain almost totally disconnected for five days.

From then on, turning off the internet became a solution used by many governments more or less authoritarian and repressive to limit reports of abuse, the free circulation of news or isolate a certain section of the population. It happened recently in India as well as in Iran, as well as in several African countries and often in conjunction with elections.

“As people spend most of their lives online, a government’s ability to effectively block access to the rest of the world represents a serious security threat, the freedom and well-being of people “, denounced Scott Carpenter, director of policy and international engagement at Jigsaw.

There are several methods for blocking user access to the network, including the slowdown in the speed of internet services (throttling), the blocking of network providers, the deep packet inspection (checking the content of data packets). In practice, the report reads, governments often block the network using “A combination of these tactics” and the blocks themselves “They are often dynamic, going from partial shutdowns affecting only some sites and services to total blackouts”.

Blackouts also cost the global economy billions. In Myanmar, where closures have been more prolonged and severe, the economic loss is estimated at $ 2.1 billion, plus 2.5 percent of GDP national.

The arbitrary arrests of the internet have been reported in recent years at the highest levels, but without too many results. The best way to combat internet crashes still looks technological. The vpn e i proxy allow users to bypass blocks by routing data traffic through another country. Mesh networking apps can also connect directly from one device to another, providing basic messaging functionality so that, at least, you don’t fall silent.

Categories:   Internet