Internet Shutdowns

2023 SMEX Fellowship on Technology and Human Rights

New technologies are at the heart of struggles for rights in the MENA region, offering unprecedented opportunities for freedom of expression, networking and mobilization. These technologies also, however, have been assimilated into existing systems of control leading to a host of threats, from privacy breaches to targeted harassment and suppression of dissent. Authoritarian regimes across …

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Internet Shutdowns to Prevent Cheating During Exams: The Impact on Society and Economy in the MENA Region

This SMEX research report was written by Sarah Cupler, an independent research consultant. It was funded by the Internet Society. The report, Internet Shutdowns to Prevent Cheating During Exams: The Impact on Society and Economy in the MENA Region, analyzes the use of internet shutdowns to combat cheating and to control information leaks during school …

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Yemen: The Race for Censorship

As the war in Yemen rages on, and while the country is witnessing the world’s worst humanitarian crisis according to the United Nations, citizens no longer have a space to breathe, not even on social media. The conflicting parties have exploited internet services to promote their narratives, block opposing websites and impose an unprecedented censorship …

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Iraqi lawyer sues the Minister of Telecommunications for Shutting Down the Internet During Protests

On Wednesday, October 9, Iraqi lawyer Mohammed Joumaa filed a lawsuit against the Iraqi minister of telecommunications for disrupting and shutting down the Internet during protests in early October. The lawsuit demands that the minister of telecommunications “repeal the decision to shutdown the internet in the country and establish that network disruptions are illegal and contrary to …

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Help SMEX Monitor Internet Shutdowns in MENA During National Exams

In the final days of the 2011 Egyptian revolution, the world gasped in disbelief as the administration of President Hosni Mubarak shut down access to the Internet and all mobile communications. At the time, it was inconceivable that a government would cut off people’s access to the internet and mobile networks. Since then, however, shutting …

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Message from Afrin: We Can’t Wait for a Shutdown to Condemn Network Disruptions in Times of War

Feature image via YPG spokesperson: Afrin under the Turkish and Free Syrian Army bombardment. March 14, 2018.  On Sunday, March 18, 2018, the Turkish forces and their Free Syrian Army allies seized control of Afrin. No one we contacted in the aftermath of the reported a network disruption. Nonetheless, preemptive warnings can raise awareness about …

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Internet Shutdown in Yemen: Recurring Disruptions Threaten Civilian Safety, Human Rights, and Press Freedom

Feature image: Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) Data depicts the outage of the internet in Yemen on the night of Thursday, December 7. On Thursday night, the Houthis, the northern Yemen-based insurgent group in control of most of Sana’a since 2015, completely shut down the internet for close to 30 minutes. Earlier in the day, the …

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Iraq's Increased Use of Internet Shutdowns a Worrying Trend

     Despite criticism from free expression and digital rights groups, such as IFEX and AccessNow, the Iraqi government appears increasingly reliant on blocking access to the internet as a tactic to deal with social, political, and security concerns. There have been 25 shutdowns since the beginning of 2017, including 15 in the first half …

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