Global – Today leading internet and telecommunications giants issued a strong rebuke of the use of internet shutdowns worldwide. The Global Network Initiative (GNI) and the Telecommunications Industry Dialogue — which include company members AT&T, Google, LinkedIn, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Facebook, Vodafone, Orange, Telenor, and Telefonica, among many others — joined GNI’s civil society members, experts, and investors to speak out against the intentional disruption of the internet and telecommunications in a statement.
“We welcome this strong, forceful statement on the danger of internet shutdowns,” said Brett Solomon, Executive Director of Access Now. “Telecommunications and internet companies are essential partners in this battle, and they now present a unified voice declaring that shutdowns harm human rights and business. The world’s most vulnerable and marginalized users suffer directly under this blunt instrument that casts entire societies into darkness.”
“To ensure that the benefits of connectivity spread globally,” Solomon continued, “telcos and internet companies should not be used as proxies by governments seeking to block citizens’ access to information. We fully support this call from the Global Network Initiative’s broad membership, and the providers and vendors in the Telecommunications Industry Dialogue, to set out clear expectations for transparency and accountability under international human rights standards.”
In June, Access Now launched the #KeepitOn campaign, which is now supported by nearly 90 organizations from 41 countries around the globe who are pushing back on internet shutdowns at every level, from governments to telcos to tech companies to everyday internet users. The full list of organizations is available on the campaign website: https://www.accessnow.org/keepiton/
The U.N. Human Rights Council recently issued a resolution condemning internet shutdowns, a crucial step that moves the condemnation of shutdowns more firmly towards violating international law. Nonetheless, over the last week, Access Now recorded shutdowns in Zimbabwe, India, and Ethiopia, bringing the total to nearly 25 shutdowns in 2016.