268 million people had their internet shut off by government-imposed blackouts in 2020, up 49% from 2019
- The duration of government-imposed
internet shutdownsaround the world shot up by 49% in 2020 compared to the previous year, according to a report from Top10VPN.
- While the economic impact of these shutdowns was much less than in 2019, the
human rightscost appears to be growing.
- This is because internet blackouts disproportionately affected people in poorer countries.
- One of the report's authors told Business Insider the shutdowns had stopped people accessing healthcare information "and therefore may have contributed to the continued spread of the virus."
Government-imposed internet blackouts increased in length by 49% in 2020 compared to 2019, per research by digital security and rights group Top10VPN.
According to Top10VPN's report, 93 major internet shutdowns took place in 21 countries around the world in 2020, including internet throttling - i.e. the only internet available was 2G - as well as social media shutdowns and full internet blackouts.
In total, 2020 saw 27,165 hours of internet shutdowns, up a dramatic 49% from 2019. Top10VPN estimated these blackouts affected 268 million people around the world, up 3% on the previous year.
One of the report's authors told Business Insider the shutdowns had stopped people accessing healthcare information "and therefore may have contributed to the continued spread of the virus."
Although the financial impact of internet shutdowns was only half what they cost the world economy in 2019, the human rights cost was significantly higher, the report said.
The report's authors noted that longer shutdowns were concentrated in poorer countries, resulting in a lower global economic impact.
"While the overall impact on the global economy declined, authoritarian regimes showed little restraint in the face of a global pandemic and poorer countries were disproportionately affected," they wrote.
"The majority of these short blackouts were highly-targeted, affecting groups of villages or individual city districts and so were not included in this report, which focuses on larger region-wide shutdowns. The true economic cost is therefore likely to be even higher than the $2.8 billion we have calculated," the report said.
"The prolonged shutdown in
India cut off internet access to the region of Kashmir on August 4, 2019 - one day before the country's government revoked the region's autonomous status. This blackout was partially lifted in March 2020, but internet speeds remained throttled.
Woodhams added that in the context of the pandemic, internet shutdowns represent an even more troubling violation of human rights than usual. "During the pandemic, internet shutdowns have stifled citizens' ability to access vital health information and therefore may have contributed to the continued spread of the virus," he said.
- ED attaches 32 properties worth ₹70 crore in fraudulent TDS refund case
- RRR surpasses Cruise’s Top Gun 2 & Spielberg’s The Fabelmans in the top 10 movies of 2022
- Weekend OTTs: Ayushmann Khurrana’s ‘An Action Hero’ to ghost hunts with ‘Lockwood and Co’
- Budget 2023: Funding support, liberal tax regime and other things fintechs expect from the government
- Instagram tops the list of most downloaded applications in Q4, 2022