Internet Shutdown

Offline and silenced: Internet blackouts are going global

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From Kashmir to Iran, governments are turning off the internet to stop dissent.

On this week’s The Listening Post: From Kashmir to Iran, governments are increasingly turning off the internet as a tactic to stop dissent. Plus, politics, porn and the sordid world of deepfakes.

How internet blackouts are going global

Imagine, as you read this, what an internet blackout would mean for you: being shut out of messaging sites, forced off social media, deprived of news and the means to contact loved ones.

Imagine you’re Kashmiri and the Indian government has left you in the dark for the past four months.

Imagine you’re Iranian, and you’ve just experienced your most serious internet shutdown to date.

Both of those blackouts were imposed by governments which said they were trying to prevent “security threats”. However, human rights groups say it has more to do with governments trying to silence dissent.

We explore what is becoming an increasingly common tactic for authoritarian leaders, and the risks it poses to freedom of information and expression.

Contributors: 

Mahsa Alimardani – Researcher, Oxford Internet Institute Iran Researcher, Article 19

Adrian Shahbaz – Research director for Technology and Democracy, Freedom House

Jillian C York – Electronic Frontier Foundation

Akriti Bopanna – The Centre for Internet & Society