How Internet Shutdowns Became A Weapon of Repression

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Internet shutdowns by governments are becoming the new normal with a big spike in 2019. Many of the shutdowns lasted longer and increasingly aimed to control the flow of information and silence dissent, particularly during election periods and times of civil unrest.

Between 2018 and 2019, the number of countries engaged in internet shutdowns shot up by 40 percent, according to Access Now’s latest figures provided to VICE News. The digital rights group documented shutdowns in 35 countries last year, an uptick from 25 countries in 2018.

Some shutdowns are total internet blackouts, but in other cases, governments block certain apps and websites like Facebook. These internet disruptions often create a climate of fear and panic, making it difficult for civilians and media to report human rights abuses.

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