Shutting down the internet: a gross global violation of human rights

| April 11, 2017 | 0 Comments

In 2016, the internet was “shut down” more than 50 times by various governments, threatening the right to free speech, silencing election news and damaging economies, says Deji Olukotun, senior global advocacy manager at digital rights organisation Access Now, based in New York City.

“In Ethiopia, there’s been consistent blocking of social media and internet. Dozens of people died in protests in Ethiopia in 2016, many of them during the kind of blackout where it’s difficult to report on what’s happening,” says Olukotun. “In Uganda in February 2016, there was a shutdown of social media networks by President Museveni, and that again happened in Gambia (in December) surrounding the election”. The following message was posted more than once in Iraq in 2016: As per the Ministry of Communications and ITPC [International Press Telecommunications Council] instructions, please be informed that all the circuits and the internet service will be shut down tomorrow by the ITPC in the period from 5:00AM to 8:00AM.

During this time all the internet connectivity will be turned off in all regions of Iraq. As all the international gateways in all Iraq borders will be down in the mentioned period, so this activity will affect on all of the Internet service providers, mobile operators, and VSAT operators in Iraq (sic). Sorry to cause any inconvenience to you, and thanks for your understanding. According to Access Now, more than one government chose to shut down the internet to stop students from cheating on their examinations.

In Gujarat, India, officials blocked mobile internet during a February 2016 accounting examination. Algeria, meanwhile, chose to block all websites except Wikipedia in June 2016, to prevent cheating on the International Baccalaureate exams, and Ethiopia soon followed suit by blocking social media during university entrance examinations. Perhaps the most infamous “regulator” of the internet is China, via the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC). The internet was off-limits to Chinese citizens several times during 2016, including on 15 December, to protect people from “harmful or obscene content”.

Both China and Russia have passed cybersecurity laws that heavily restrict internet freedom for those nations’ citizens, and gives the governments the power to shut down internet access at will, in the name of “national security”. 

Category: Autumn 2017, e-Education

About the Author ()

News posts added for Independent Education by Global Latitude DMA

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *