Home LATEST NEWS HIGH TECH Internet shutdowns create massive damage, warns UN

Internet shutdowns create massive damage, warns UN


In a report released on Thursday, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights cited hospitals that cannot contact their doctors in an emergency, corruption-prone electoral systems and violently suppressed peaceful protests as examples of the consequences of the shutdown of telecommunications services.

The real dramatic effects of the cuts on the lives and rights of millions of people are vastly underestimatedsays the diplomatic institution.

Shutting down the internet causes incalculable damage, both material and human rightsinsisted High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet, stressing how essential the digital sector has become for human rights.

The first major internet shutdown that received global attention took place in Egypt in 2011, during the Tahrir Square protests, and was accompanied by hundreds of arrests and murders.

Since then, we have only seen the proliferation of this phenomenon all over the world.Peggy Hicks, head of the UN’s thematic engagement division, told reporters.

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Ms Hicks cited the Internet shutdown in Iran in 2019 as authorities quashed protests across the country, the one in Belarus during demonstrations protesting the 2020 election, and the repeated shutdowns since the military coup. in Burma last year.

Nearly 1000 blockages for 5 years

One of the key findings of the report is that when you see a disconnect happening, it’s time to start worrying about human rights.she said.

According to the report, the #KeepItOn coalition, which monitors such shutdowns around the world, documented 931 shutdowns between 2016 and 2021 across 74 countries, some of which blocked communications repeatedly and for long periods.

But Ms Hicks pointed out that it was difficult to gather information on shutdowns and, especially, on more targeted measures such as blocking access to large online platforms, throttling bandwidth or limiting mobile services.

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