In collaboration with the #KeepItOn coalition, Access Now has been documenting internet shutdowns since 2011. In our effort to identify, document, and verify internet shutdowns around the world, we have depended and learned a lot from the civil society organizations that make up our #KeepItOn community.
Whether because of elections, protests, or exams, every internet shutdown has a story, a human being, a human rights violation behind it, and a perpetrator who pulled the plug. As the number of shutdowns kept increasing, we wanted to map the events that triggered the shutdowns but also the human stories and human rights violations.
In 2016 we launched the Shutdowns Tracker Optimization Project (STOP) to collect systematically, document, and verify internet shutdowns in close collaboration with people affected by shutdowns. Our process was also influenced and guided by SFLC’s leadership in India, Moses Karanja’s work in Africa, and many others who helped develop and refine our methodology.
Fast forward to 2018, and our STOP project has documented 196 cases of internet shutdowns (see the full report for details). Almost every shutdown we counted told us the same story — shutdowns are an arbitrary, often illegal measure taken by governments to silence dissenting voices and control information.
The 2018 Report
Below is an infographic to summarize our key findings: