👎 Governments are shutting down internet access more than ever 

Bad news on the open internet front: Foreign countries have picked up the pace on taking away the web from their citizens. 

  • In the last decade, democracy has taken a hit across the globe: And the internet, where people should be able to freely share information, has been a major target. According to The Verge, drawing from stats from the nonprofit Access Now, some 850 internet shutdowns have occurred in the last 10 years. The trend appears to have started with Egypt, where an internet shutdown happened for nearly the entire country for five days in 2011. 

  • Numbers went down during COVID: Around 200 shutdowns happened in 2019, before falling slightly last year. Internet shutdowns are on the rise once again in 2021. 

A response to protest

Social media and the internet have allowed people to organize protests in ways they never could in prior eras. Venezuelan lawyer Marianne DÍaz told The Verge  “As more and more people use the internet, and particularly social media, to document and denounce human rights violations, civil unrest and other events, some governments start seeing the internet as a threat that needs to be ‘controlled.’”  

The Verdict

It’s going to be difficult to police governments that attempt to cut off internet access. The best tools for any given person facing a shutdown are encrypted networks like VPNs.