India topped the list of countries that blocked the internet in 2019, reached 121 blocks, more than half of the 213 blocks registered in the world, according to Access Now, a group for the defense of digital rights.
Globally, 33 countries turned off access to comparison from the 25th of 2018, the #KeepItOn report on internet crashes in 2019 said.
1 / In collaboration with the #KeepitOn Coalition, we have been documenting #internetshutdowns since 2011. Today we launched our 2019 report. Below are some of the trends we observed ⬇️ https://t.co/pJdCf3em2J pic.twitter.com/F2FMLJgOuX
– Access Now (@accessnow) February 25, 2020
Attacked, locked, in the dark.
#KeepItOn report on internet crashes of 2019.
1 / In collaboration with the #KeepitOn Coalition, we have been documenting #internetshutdowns since 2011. Today we launched our 2019 report. Below are some of the trends we observed ⬇️
The 2019 blockades were longer and more geographically specific, and included delayed access to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.
After India, Venezuela was the global blockade leader, blocking access to social media platforms at least 12 times.
After Venezuela, Yemen, Iraq, Algeria and Ethiopia were the countries with the most blockages.
Pakistan had five incidents of blackout of mobile or broadband services; In Indonesia there were three.
Myanmar imposed the longest internet blockade in the Rakáin and Chin states, where between half a million and 600,000 Rohingya Muslims live.
The authorities in Bangladesh also closed mobile internet connections in refugee camps mostly occupied by Rohingya. The blockade was imposed at the beginning of September 2019 and is still ongoing.
The governments justified their actions with the affirmation that they were to guarantee public security, increase national security and stop the dissemination of false news, among others.
Kashmir: second largest blockade in 2019
After repealing the special provisions of its Constitution regarding the state of Jammu and Kashmir. the Indian government banned public meetings, arrested local leaders, cut telephone lines and imposed a complete internet block for 175 days – the second largest worldwide in 2019.
It was also one of the largest blockades registered in India to date.
Some restrictions were lifted after the Supreme Court of India criticized the blockade, resolved that indefinite internet blockades were unconstitutional and asked the authorities to review the policies.
However, the provision failed to offer immediate relief.
To date, Kashmir residents under Indian administration are only allowed to access slow 2G internet connections, have blocked access to most social media platforms, and who can only visit sites authorized and reviewed by the Government .
In addition to Kashmir, #KeepItOn documented incidents of Internet blockades in other Indian states “to silence the discordant voices.”
Petitions were launched in different Indian states that refute the blockade orders after nationwide protests against the controversial citizenship restatement law and the proposal to register citizens in Assam.
Although a court in the city of Gawuhati forced the state government of Assam on December 20, 2019 to re-establish the internet connection, disconnected on December 11, 2019 after demonstrations in ten districts, a court in Kerala also ruled on September 19 of 2019 in favor of a request to have internet access at night in an accommodation for girls.
“The blockades in Jammu and Kashmir are equivalent to 68% of the blockades in India, followed by Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and West Bengal,” said Access Now.
The Government's most common reason for the blockade in India was that of “precautionary measures” or restoring public order.
The report says that network restrictions have served to hide several serious human rights violations in Kashmir, such as arrest and beatings of children, and travel restrictions and access to the complicated region.
Here you can read the full report.