Weapons of Control, Shields of Impunity: Internet shutdowns in 2022
28 February 2023
Access Now and the #KeepItOn coalition’s new report, Weapons of Control, Shields of Impunity: Internet shutdowns in 2022, reveals and unpacks the global resurgence of internet shutdowns last year. In 2022, authorities shut down the internet across 35 countries — the highest number ever recorded in a single year — at least 187 times. Key findings include: The total: at least 187 shutdowns across 35 countries; The biggest offender: India implemented at least 84 shutdowns — the highest number for the fifth year; The attacks in conflict and occupation: Russia shut down the internet at least 22 times in Ukraine, Ethiopia dragged on the over two-year long shutdown in Tigray, and the junta disconnected people in Myanmar at least seven times; The triggers: authorities across the globe interfered with access during high-profile events such as public demonstrations, conflict, school exams, and elections — the majority of Iran’s 18 shutdowns were deployed during protests; The impunity: shutdowns shrouded human rights abuses and violence through at least 48 disruptions in 14 countries; The resurgence: authorities hit the kill switch at least 184 times across 34 countries in 2021, and at least 159 times in 29 countries in 2020 — a notable drop at the height of the pandemic; and The positives: West Africa’s top court declared Nigeria’s Twitter ban unlawful, many countries upheld internet access throughout elections, and the #KeepItOn coalition grew to over 300 members from 105 countries. In 2022, authorities shut down the internet in: Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Burkina Faso, China, Cuba, Ethiopia, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Libya, Myanmar, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Russia, Sierra Leone, Somaliland, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tunisia, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.