The Internet Was Shut Down 29 Times In 2017 And It’s Only July, So Much For Free Internet!
Internet is the oxygen of the 21st century. Without access to it, people will wilt and die.
With the launch of Reliance Jio last September, and the cut-throat competition between rival telcos, getting online has become increasingly cheaper to the point where anyone with a smartphone can afford to buy an Internet pack. People are free to choose their Internet provider, data plan, and there’s a lot of flexibility for the consumer.
But that freedom is still dependent on our access to the Internet, which is not always in our control.
According to statistics from the Software Freedom Law Centre (SFLC), India has seen 29 instances of Internet shutdowns in 2017. Yes, that’s almost 30 times that the government has blocked our access to the Internet in just these past six and a half months, all in the name of preserving law and order. Just the last month saw parts of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra cut off from the Internet, a fact that’s caused the global Human Rights Watch group to question Indian authorities, calling for them to “cease arbitrary restrictions of the country’s internet and telecommunications networks.”
1. Authorities are cutting us off more often every year
SFLC has been tracking Internet shutdowns in India since 2012, which you can find for yourself here, cataloguing the dates, durations, and reasons behind each instance.There have been a total of 88 recorded shutdowns since 2012, with 31 reported in 2016 and 29 in 2017 alone. That number has steadily progressed since the three reported instances in 2012. And at 29, we’re just two off last year’s total, only halfway through 2017.
2. Your smartphone is the target more often than your Wi-Fi
Also, 49 of the 73 recorded shutdowns (at the time of the report) targeted mobile Internet services, and 10 targeted both mobile and fixed-line services. No shutdowns were reported to have only targeted fixed-line Internet services though the targets of 14 shutdowns remain unknown.
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