Internet shutdowns by governments have ‘proliferated at a truly alarming pace’

Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

The number of government-led internet shutdowns has exploded over the last decade as states seek to stifle dissent and protest by limiting citizens’ access to the web.

Nearly 850 intentional shutdowns have been recorded over the past 10 years by nonprofit Access Now’s Shutdown Tracker Optimization Project (STOP), and although the group acknowledges that data on incidents before 2016 is “patchy,” some 768 of these shutdowns took place in the last five years. There were 213 shutdowns in 2019 alone, with this figure ticking down to 155 in 2020 as the world adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic (which delayed elections and led to lockdowns that kept populations at home more often). And already in the first five months of 2021 there have been 50…

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