Today marks two months since mobile Internet was shut down in Myanmar. As nationwide restrictions to mobile Internet and wireless broadband continue, MCRB and GNI again call for equal and unrestricted access to information across all telecommunications networks.
New Report! Life Interrupted: Centering the Social Impacts of Network Disruptions in Advocacy in Africa
Authored by Tomiwa Ilori of the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, the report surveys experts and practitioners from eleven countries in Africa where the Internet was disrupted for 1144 days total between 2011 and 2020.
Given the severe social, economic, and human rights consequences that the draft cybersecurity law is likely to have on both users and companies inside the country, GNI calls on the Myanmar military to withdraw and reconsider the law.
We call on government authorities in Myanmar to immediately restore full network connectivity, reverse orders blocking social media sites, and refrain from issuing further orders or putting pressure on internet and telecommunications companies that contravene the country’s international human rights law commitments, including the freedom of opinion and expression and privacy.
After the Internet was shut down ahead of the Jan 14 general elections in Uganda, ongoing disruptions targeting digital communications platforms continue, proving detrimental to information access and daily livelihoods, in addition to social, economic, educational, and political engagement. We encourage the government to restore access immediately.
In a letter to UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression Irene Khan, GNI raises concerns about ongoing restrictions on digital communications in Myanmar, including network disruptions, website blocking, and efforts by governmental actors to manipulate social media platforms.
Digital rights advocates have sometimes seen companies as adversaries when they cooperate with orders to limit or shut off services. But new research demonstrates a set of practical steps companies caught between these competing pressures can take to uphold their responsibilities and work together with advocates to discourage government disruption orders.
The risks of government-mandated network disruptions for human rights, media freedom, economic activity and development, and security are more acute during the ongoing pandemic. To lessen the negative impacts of the novel coronavirus, ensure the public’s access to information, and facilitate the development and application of new, constructive, and inclusive solutions, it is important to understand how government-mandated network disruptions intentional degradation of access can undermine these goals.
With over 100 individuals from GNI members in attendance, the calls discussed the opportunities and risks of using ICT company data to respond to the pandemic, as well as the impact of different government measures on the flow of important health information.
GNI is deeply concerned about reports of network disruptions across India, including in New Delhi, amid mass protests. GNI urges the government to consider its international commitments to freedom of expression and the risks disruptions pose for public safety, health and emergency services, the economy, and the news media.