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Netizen Report: Authorities shut down mobile internet in Ethiopia's capital, as ethnic and political conflict persist
"Just five months into the administration of Ethiopia’s new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, protests rooted in ethnic conflict and the administration of land rights policies have once again taken Addis Ababa by storm and led to the deaths of at least 20 people. On September 17, in what appeared to be an effort to quell social unrest, mobile internet networks were shut down across the capital city. Ethio Telecom, the country’s sole, government-owned internet and phone service provider, did not offer any public statement about the shutdown...Hailed as a reformer, the new prime minister has ordered the release of thousands of political prisoners, removed top-level police and security officials from the previous regime and worked to rekindle relations with Eritrea. He also lifted the country’s state of emergency, which had been in place intermittently since 2015. The resurgence of protests and corresponding internet shutdown, both hallmarks of public life under the previous regime, have raised fears that Ahmed's efforts to restore peace and uphold human rights in the country are already faltering."'s-stunning-reforms-now-challenged-by-deadly-unrest
otf  ethiopia  africa  shutdown  access 
2 days ago by dmcdev
Tiny Snek Comics on Twitter: ""
if there's one thing I know about government shutdowns… it's that crime is legal now.

sequester  cartoons  comics  government  shutdown  snek 
14 days ago by bezthomas
South Asian governments keep ordering internet shutdowns — and leaving users in the dark
Throughout India and in Bangladesh, governments in South Asia are increasingly shutting down the internet during times of political activity and protest, writes Afef Abrougui for Global Voices Advocacy: "When students in Dhaka, Bangladesh launched public protests demanding road safety after a speeding bus killed two students on July 29, mobile internet connections suddenly were no more. When the protests turned violent on August 3, after rumors of rape and kidnapping triggered confrontations between police and protesters, authorities resorted to shutting down 3G and 4G networks in and around Dhaka...The measures made it impossible to share multimedia and live video, which many protesters were using in an effort to show what actually was happening on the streets, in real time, and to debunk false claims. Telecom operators in Bangladesh gave subscribers no explanation of the cut in service. These measures are not unique to Bangladesh. They represent part of a growing trend across South Asia, where access to networks or platforms is restricted or completely shut down when protests or violence erupts, and the public is left in the dark, with little or no information about what causes these shutdowns."
otf  southasia  india  bangladesh  shutdown  access  blackout 
16 days ago by dmcdev
The Link Between More Internet Access and Frequent Internet Shutdowns
Shutting down internet access is an increasingly common tactic deployed by governments seeking to suppress free speech or discourage political movements. It is perhaps surprising that these shutdowns happen most frequently in countries where internet connectivity is rapidly rising, writes Conor Sanchez for the Council on Foreign Relations' Net Politics blog: "[M]any of the countries where shutdowns occur include places where the internet is growing fastest, especially ones that saw the number of users double between 2010 and 2016. Countries such as the Philippines, Bangladesh, and Cameroon recognize that expanding access is essential to compete in the digital economy and yet, they also seek to control it when it challenges authority."
otf  shutdown  access  policy  cfr  blackout 
4 weeks ago by dmcdev
Mali elections marred by internet disruptions - @netblocks
The internet disruption monitors at NetBlocks (a previously OTF-supported project) identified an apparent intentional internet shutdown in Mali this week, just after the country held a runoff presidential election over the weekend. NetBlocks data shows that the shutdown occurred just as the election results were announced on Thursday. NetBlocks data also showed evidence that social media platforms such as WhatsApp were "degraded by mobile operators during the election period," while other platforms and services appeared to be operating normally.

In the election, incumbent candidate President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta was declared the winner on Thursday, winning in landslide fashion, taking 67% of the vote. Keïta won a majority (41.4%) of votes when elections were originally conducted on July 29th, but the incumbent candidate did not get the 50% required to win - thus requiring the need for a runoff vote.
otf  mali  africa  election  shutdown  access 
5 weeks ago by dmcdev
Ethiopia internet shutdown in eastern Somali region
The Ethiopian government has again cut internet access in in the country, this time in several cities across the country's eastern Somali region amid increasingly violent political clashes between the federal and regional governments. The cities of Jijiga, Dire Dawa, and Harar are among the affected areas, which have been without mobile and broadband internet for several days, Quartz reports.

Quartz: "Over the past weekend, federal troops were deployed to the eastern Somali regional state, leading to a standoff with local police, lootings, and death. The region’s leader Abdi Mohamoud Omar, better known as Abdi Iley, was forced to resign and replaced by his finance minister Ahmed Abdi Mohammed. Following the unrest, officials cut off internet access to the region, with no explanation from either the ministry of communications or the sole mobile operator and internet provider Ethio Telecom. The move is indicative of an old Ethiopian government trick, blocking the internet or access to specific social media sites like Facebook and Twitter during anti-government protests or unease...'People in eastern Ethiopia deserve better from the federal government,' Berhan Taye, who leads digital rights group Access Now’s Keep It On campaign, said on Twitter. 'Access to information and freedom of expression are not a luxury dispensed at the convenience of the federal government. They are constitutional rights.'"

An Access Now-led coalition sent a letter to Ethiopia's Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) requesting that internet access be restored.
otf  ethiopia  africa  shutdown  access  blackout  censorship  somali 
6 weeks ago by dmcdev
.@accessnow files new legal intervention in Cameroon against shutdowns
In response to last year's 90+ day internet shutdown in Cameroon's Anglophone regions, Access Now has partnered with the Media Legal Defence Initiative (MLDI) and local partner Emmanuel Nkea of Veritas Law Offices Cameroon to file a new legal challenge against the Cameroon government. Access previously filed an amicus brief on behalf of several local rights groups to the country's Supreme Court over the matter That case fell apart after the Court apparently lost the paperwork associated with that filing, then "failed to schedule any hearings on the matter," says Access. "The process has raised suspicions that these delays may have been a deliberate attempt to frustrate those pursuing the case," they say.

Access: "Access Now submitted a legal intervention to the court in support of the plaintiff in this new case, which has already had preliminary hearings at the Constitutional Council...Cameroon’s first internet shutdown lasted 94 days, starting on January 17, 2017, and ending just after the initial lawsuits were filed, around April 20, 2017. This shutdown violated the human rights of millions of people living in Anglophone Cameroon, disrupting all facets of life, from education, to business, to healthcare and other basic services...'Journalists and civil society organizations have documented the many harms of Cameroon’s government-ordered shutdowns, yet no one has been held to account,' said Peter Micek, General Counsel at Access Now...In a region of the country experiencing increasing tension between local English-speaking populations and the French-speaking national government, this internet shutdown was designed to undermine people’s ability to peacefully protest, to access information, and to share their stories — including documentation of police brutality and other human rights abuses."

- Also from Cameroon: the story of Zuo Bruno, a "young ethical hacker" who built an SMS-based car tracking app called Zoomed to prevent car theft during the country's prolonged internet shutdown: "'Following the disconnection, I noticed a lot of cars were being stolen and realized these stolen cars had internet-based tracking solutions installed but the owners still couldn’t locate their cars,' Bruno, founder of Zuoix; an information security start-up said. He says the government’s internet shutdown gave him the incentive to conceive the whole idea...The Zoomed app does car-tracking based solely on specific SMS commands which gives it an advantage in a continent where shaky internet connection and low penetration makes internet-based solutions less effective."
otf  cameroon  access  censorship  shutdown  africa 
7 weeks ago by dmcdev
India's internet shutdowns cost the economy billions of dollars
Through the first seven months of 2018, there have been more than 90 internet shutdowns in India. Those shutdowns - usually in response to political activities - have come at a cost, with one expert estimating that the Indian economy has suffered productivity losses somewhere "between $1 billion to $3 billion," reports Sushma U N for Quartz. Some say the increase in shutdowns may be aided by the lack of clarity around the legality of when a shutdown is sanctioned and by what authority.

"In recent years, various regional governments and authorities have displayed a growing tendency to simply switch off internet connectivity to contain social and political disturbances. It has already peaked this year. In just the first seven months of 2018, there have been 92 such incidents across the country; in all of 2017, there were only 79, according to data from The website’s findings are based on data collected by New Delhi-based pro bono legal services firm Software Freedom Law Center...'The economic impact itself is very high because our entire economy is gravitating towards internet connectivity,' said Praveen Bhadada, partner at Zinnov Management Consulting. 'The estimate is anywhere between $1 billion to $3 billion of productivity losses'...What India needs to do now is to work on clear guidelines on when such shutdowns can be ordered. While India’s telecom regulator allows for shutdowns, there is ambiguity around when and why this can be done."
otf  india  southasia  asia  shutdown  access 
7 weeks ago by dmcdev

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