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Report: Opening up the Technical Aspects of Internet Shutdowns

Internet shutdowns are increasingly being used by governments to assert control during periods of social and political unrest, violating many fundamental rights that people should be able to exercise freely. Over the past years, governments across South and Southeast Asia imposed network disruptions to block access to critical information, undermine democratic expression, and hide human rights violations, especially in conflict-ridden areas. With high internet penetration rates in the region, the impact of internet shutdowns is significant.

There are several types of internet shutdowns, ranging from completely blocking internet access to throttling bandwidth, making it difficult for users to access certain websites. Digital rights advocates and civil society organisations need to understand how perpetrators technically implement shutdowns. By doing so, they can better minimise the impact on affected populations and gather evidence to hold perpetrators accountable.

The report titled “Opening up the Technical Aspects of Internet Shutdowns: Spotlight on South and Southeast Asia Cases” breaks down the technical aspects behind internet shutdowns, drawing from and building on existing research and literature. The report cites examples from incidents reported in South and Southeast Asian countries and includes actions that individuals and civil society members can take in the broader movement to safeguard and uphold freedom of internet access and digital rights.

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By documenting instances of internet shutdowns and increasing public knowledge and awareness of these network disruptions, civil society can more effectively work towards resisting this form of digital authoritarianism.

This report has been produced by EngageMedia as part of the Greater Internet Freedom Program.