Whenever you see a government or a group, in the case of the Taliban – expressing authoritarian, authoritarian and oppressive views, it follows that they can do what they want to say, restricting access to information and communication. I am very concerned about the situation in Afghanistan. Make sure the people there have access to information, the ability to communicate and the ability to get news.
How civilized must one be to implement one of these shutdowns? Can anyone with a meaningful level of control over the Internet infrastructure engage in these activities?
You are worth pointing out that the way shutdowns pass often depends on how much control the government has over telecommunication infrastructure in a given country. And it changes: it changes country by country, and it changes over time.
One of the things we’ve observed, and well-informed by others, is that many governments are considering legislation that would increase their control over telecommunications infrastructure. It’s part of three simultaneous trends. First, you have an increasing frequency of Internet shutdowns. Second, your focus is on how governments control telecommunications infrastructure in their countries. And you will also see the decline of democracy around the world and the rise of authoritarian governments exercising power over civil society.
What is the real risk?
It’s definitely more than an inconvenience. It is a matter of life and death in some cases. It is definitely a matter of losing livelihoods – civil society is being restricted, restricted access to information is being restricted and freedom of expression is being curtailed. I think as more people live their lives online and democratic organizations rely more on the Internet as a way to facilitate civic participation – to share news and information, for people to communicate with each other, and to organize people – risk the Internet Closing government increases spending.
Global deliberately shut down the Internet
January 2020 – May 2021
What can the average internet user do about this? What can we do to better identify and prevent this from happening?
It depends a lot on your circumstances. There are a number of tools that allow you to access free and open Internet-Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), for example. There are certain tools that allow you to protect yourself from certain types of censorship. DNS poisoning is a common form of censorship where the government manipulates individual URLs. We have a tool (and also other tools) called Intra that protects users and allows them to avoid those restrictions.