from Sputnik News:
Governments are using internet shutdowns to quell dissent and ahead of elections, school exams, or to prevent the spread of what they say is “misinformation.”
According to Access Now’s annual KeepItOn report, governments across the world are shutting down the internet more than ever, often in an attempt to squash dissent, limit discussions of controversial subjects, during elections, or as part of a broader strategy to damage infrastructure during military conflicts.
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The report states that 167 internet shutdowns occurred in 2022, compared to 112 in 2021, 99 in 2020 and 75 in 2019. The leading country, as it has been for the past five years, is India, with 84 shutdowns this year. But other governments are also increasingly using the practice. 2022 marked the first year since tracking started in 2016 that the number of shutdowns outside of India topped 100.
Some of the internet shutdowns, 28, included in the report are shutdowns of specific services, like social media sites, and not the entire internet.
Many of India’s shutdowns occurred in the Jammu and Kashmir regions, intended to squash protests and unrest in the region. The government has also, according to the report, refused to end shutdowns after being ordered to by the country’s Supreme Court.
They are not alone, there were 62 shutdowns that Access Now says were done to quell unrest in areas, the longest coming from Myanmar which has the longest ongoing shutdown, set to exceed 540 days in March. Sixteen of the shutdowns in 2022 were carried over from 2021 and another 16, including the aforementioned Myanmar shutdown that began in 2021, carried over into 2023.