This piece by GNI Program Director David Sullivan originally appeared at Lawfare on August 23, 2020.

From telemedicine and online education to Zoom weddings and funerals, people rely on digital technologies like never before. And yet governments around the world continue to order internet and mobile network disruptions. These disruptions range from the yearlong blackout in Jammu and Kashmir, where connectivity is still being restored in dribs and drabs, to recent disruptions in response to unrest in Ethiopia and protests in Belarus.

Internet blackouts and other disruptions put governments and companies in tension. Internet and telecommunications providers are caught between their legal obligations to the state and their human rights responsibilities to their customers. Because of this, 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.

Read the essay at Lawfare.