A new report shows India’s regional internet shutdowns cost its economy approximately $ 2.8 billion in 2020. This makes India the country that suffered the greatest damage from Internet manipulation by a government in the past year.
Internet shutdowns or the intentional interference Internet access or electronic communications targeting a specific location or population Often used by governments to control riots but often lead to human rights abusefrom shutting down the press to obstructing peaceful protests to blocking access to information.
Intermittent shutdowns across India, combined with the month-long power blackout in the disputed Kashmir region, accounted for 8,927 hours and affected over 10 million people, the report said. It also shows India and Myanmar are responsible for the longest shutdowns for the second year in a row.
The report “Global Costs of Internet Disconnections in 2020”, published by the review platform Top10VPN of the Virtual Provider Network (VPN), compiled cases of Internet tampering around the world over the course of the year and found that in 21 countries, including Belarus, Yemen and Myanmar is contributing over $ 4 billion in total losses – with India’s losses accounting for about three-quarters of total global costs.
Internet disruption in these countries came in various forms: catastrophes, social media shutdowns, and internet throttling (when internet service providers limit users’ bandwidth or internet speed), the report said.
Continue reading: Belarus is back online with lessons on censorship resistance
“Not only [internet disruptions] As an act of economic self-sabotage, they also violate citizens’ freedom of expression, the right to information and the right to peaceful assembly, “Samuel Woodhams, researcher for digital rights at Top10VPN and one of the authors of the report, told CoinDesk via email.
According to the report, internet disruptions in countries like Myanmar and Yemen may have prevented citizens, especially in rural areas, from receiving critical information and updates about the spread of COVID-19.
“By disrupting access to the Internet, authorities have denied citizens the right to access vital information about the virus … and possibly created conditions under which the virus could spread unabated,” said Woodhams.
However, the global economic costs for Internet shutdowns in 2020 fell by 50% compared to 2019 annual analysis from Top10VPN posted a loss of $ 8 billion. For example, 263 days of disruption in Iraq cost the nation $ 2.3 billion in 2019 compared to India, which lost $ 2.8 billion in over 8,000 days of disruption.
Woodhams stated that this was due to an inequality in the amount of interference.
“The shutdowns in Iraq and Sudan in 2019 were so expensive because they were nationwide and not localized. In India, all restrictions were regions, not the whole country, so the impact on the economy was less as only part of the population was restricted, ”Woodhams said.
India was responsible for the between 2019 and 2020 longest recorded Internet shutdown in a democracy in which the Kashmir region remained in the dark for at least seven months. When the internet was finally restoredUsers only had access to 2G speeds, an example of severe government internet throttling over an extended period of time.
“While there is often little transparency about who ordered the disruption, it is usually the authorities that force companies to slow down,” said Woodhams.
Continue reading: In India, a clash of digital innovation and internet censorship
He added that Top10VPN’s research team kept abreast of internet shutdowns throughout the year and collected data from a number of sources including non-governmental internet surveillance organizations Netblockswhat the researchers were used to Estimate the costas well as a Internet shutdown tracker from the Indian Software Freedom Law Center.
The goal of reports that compile the cost of global records of internet shutdowns is to get authorities around the world to think twice about introducing these deliberate digital disruptions, Woodhams said.