Countries Where the Government Shuts Down the Internet

Fearing societal unrest and loss of control of their populations, governments presiding over nearly 2.8 billion of the world’s people have the power to toggle internet access on the whims of kings, military juntas, or presidents for life.

These blackouts wreak havoc on businesses that rely on connecting with the outside world, and they are often implemented to hobble the work of journalists and activists or to prevent protestors from coordinated actions through social media apps. A surprisingly large number of them shut down the internet during academic exams to curb cheating. 

These shutdowns can also occur regionally within a country, from drought-stricken southwestern Iran to rebel-infused northern Ethiopia. (Ethiopia is among the poorest countries in the world.)

To determine the countries where the government shuts down the internet, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on internet shutdowns from the digital civil rights non-profit Access Now’s The Return Of Digital Authoritarianism, Internet shutdowns in 2021. Countries were ranked based on the number of reported government-imposed internet shutdowns in 2021. In the case of a tie, the country with the larger populations was ranked higher. All other data came from the World Bank.

Of the 19 countries with at least two government-imposed internet shutdowns last year, six are located in Africa, five are in the Middle East, and seven in Asia. Cuba, where mobile internet only arrived to its people in December 2018, is the only country in the Americas on this list.

Most of the people living under these stick-swinging internet hall monitors live in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Indonesia. The share of internet users in these 19 countries ranges from 10.4% in the Republic of Chad to 85.9% in Kazakhstan. Most of these people access the web solely through their mobile devices. Iraq has the highest number of fixed broadband connections at 15.5 per 100 people, while a dozen of these countries have only two broadband subscriptions or fewer per 100 people.

The list excludes North Korea, where only a small number of people have access to a closed, sanctioned intranet network through dialup connections. Owning a computer there requires government permission and registration, and few people would be able to obtain one even if they knew what it was. This list also excludes authoritarian countries like China and Saudi Arabia because these countries operate internet firewalls. 

Also notably absent from the list is Russia, which blocked access to communications platforms in 2021 through throttling. Authorities have passed new laws in 2022 banning digital and media platforms and tools such as VPNs. Ally Belarus took steps in 2021 to institutionalize its power to block internet access at its discretion. (How free is the press in the world’s richest countries.)

Click here to see countries where the government shuts down the internet
Click here to read our detailed methodology

Sponsored: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor:

Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

Source: Read Full Article