Electronic censorship: State-run internet shutdowns rose sharply in 2021

Even if there is no big red button to turn the Internet off, the temptation is great in many countries, especially authoritarian ones, to restrict, restrict or block access to the World Wide Web. In this regard, this practice tends to grow. In fact, deliberate state-run internet shutdowns increased significantly in 2021 with 182 cases identified by the group of organizations #keep it safe In a report released Thursday. This data represents an increase of more than 14% compared to 2020.

With the gradual return to normalcy after the global Covid-19 pandemic, we saw a major resurgence in internet shutdowns in 2021‘, explained the report’s authors.

Thus 34 countries cut off access to their citizens last year, compared to 29 in 2020.

106 Discounts in India in 2021

India is by far the country with the highest number of accidents recorded with 106 cuts. A large proportion of these cases occurred in the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region between India and Pakistan.

India’s continued use of internet shutdowns despite global outcry and regulations demanding more transparency shows that the situation has not improved much there.Editors’ lament.

Burma comes second in the ranking (15 categories), followed by Iran (5), Sudan (5), Cuba (4) and Jordan (4).

The reductions occurred in different contexts: demonstrations and coups (Burma, Sudan, Iran, Jordan, Pakistan, Eswatini, Cuba, Burkina Faso), elections (Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iran, Niger, Uganda, Zambia), conflict areas (Ethiopia, Burma , Gaza Strip) or prevent cheating during exams (Algeria, Syria, Sudan).

However, #KeepItOn notes a decrease in the number of internet suspensions around the time of the elections, citing examples from countries such as Benin, Iraq and The Gambia where access has been maintained throughout the year.

The gathering, which includes 282 organizations in various sectors (NGOs, pressure groups, research centres, foundations, media) and in about a hundred countries, also welcomes the condemnations of the Group of Seven and the United Nations against internet cuts and restrictions on access to the network.

It also refers to the intensification of procedures to challenge before the court the legality of the suspension in several African countries (Nigeria, Sudan and Zambia).

Internet shutdown and rising authoritarianism go hand in handMarian Diaz-Hernandez of the digital rights protection NGO Acces Now, however, worries at the origin of the #KeepItOn project.

In 2021, governments have demonstrated how comprehensive lockdowns can be tools for exercising population controlThe researcher adds.

Independent national networks … can be controlled more easily

If the right to information is the subject of an article in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, many countries do not hesitate to mock this principle.

The most recent example, Russia. Since the outbreak of the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Moscow has made it impossible to access social networks such as Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Dozens of websites have also been blocked since the start of the Russian attack on Ukraine.

Roskomnadzor, the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and the Media, monitors compliance with recently enacted laws, according to which the dissemination of information about the conflict deemed false is punishable by penalties of up to 15 years in prison.

Several years ago, Moscow put in place a legislative arsenal to control the Internet and restrict freedom of expression. Thus, since November 1, 2019, the “sovereign Internet” has come into force, allowing, if necessary, to isolate the entire Russian network from the rest of the world. Separating from the rest of the world, this “RuNet” can be easily controlled by the Russian authorities who assert “the desire to fight all kinds of threats.”

La démarche russe se rapproche de celle de la Chine et de sa “Grande muraille informatique” où les internautes chinois naviguent dans un système clos, dont les services occidentaux les plus populaires ont été remplacé pour we Twitter com We loc locét FB.

The Internet relies on large backbones, backbones, and giant fiber-optic cables drawn across five continents and lying at the bottom of seas and oceans. This framework, which is constantly growing, allows data to take “alternative paths” in the event of a failure. In fact, it is therefore easier to control or cut off this data in countries where these infrastructures are fewer in number and where operators are also less diverse.

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