Network Disruptions

Network Disruptions 2018-04-04T17:23:35+00:00

ICT companies face an increasing number of orders from governments around the world seeking to restrict access to services and disrupt networks. These blunt orders often occur during politically charged contexts, such as protests or elections, making non-compliance challenging and increasing their likely human rights impacts.

GNI believes such drastic measures almost always violate the principles of proportionality and necessity, and our framework helps companies push for greater transparency and accountability around such activities. Given the impacts that disruptions have on telecommunications and internet companies, as well as on media freedom and human rights, GNI provides an important forum for fostering collaboration across key constituencies on this troubling trend.

GNI’s positions on network disruptions are outlined in our seminal, 2016 statement on network restrictions. Building off of this statement, GNI has developed a one-page guide for policymakers on network disruptions – now available in ten languages – which highlights the wide variety of harms that such disruptions can cause to human rights, economic activity, public safety and emergency services, among others. GNI also released an important report in October 2016 titled, “The Economic Impact of Disruptions to Internet Connectivity,” which sets out a framework for measuring the costs of shutdowns in terms of the daily gross domestic product lost in countries with varying levels of Internet connectivity.

  • A folder with paper and research

Event Report: GNI & UNESCO host Improving the Communications and Information Ecosystem to Protect the Integrity of Elections

GNI and UNESCO partnered for two feature sessions: “network availability, security and integrity around elections,” and "enhancing quality of information and elections.” April 23, 2018|events, network disruptions, Publication|

Disruptions of Social Media Platforms in Sri Lanka

The Global Network Initiative is closely monitoring reports that access to social media and messaging platforms in Sri Lanka has been widely disrupted. These disruptions follow religious rioting and related violence and the imposition of a state of emergency. GNI recognizes the government of Sri Lanka’s duty [...] March 8, 2018|feature, Issues, issues highlight, media releases, network disruptions|

GNI Welcomes Pakistan Court Decision on Network Disruptions

The Global Network Initiative welcomes Monday's decision by the Islamabad High Court declaring shutdowns of mobile networks on the pretext of security illegal throughout the country unless they are accompanied by a presidential proclamation of emergency. According to GNI Executive Director Judith Lichtenberg, “The Decision by the High [...] February 28, 2018|feature, Issues, issues highlight, media releases, network disruptions|

GNI Condemns Network Disruptions Amidst Protests in Iran

The Global Network Initiative is deeply concerned about restrictions on internet and messaging services that occurred during recent nationwide protests in Iran. On December 31, 2017, Iranian authorities blocked access to the messaging service Telegram and photo-sharing service Instagram in order to “maintain peace,” according [...] January 10, 2018|feature, Issues, media releases, network disruptions|

The Consequences of Network Shutdowns and Service Disruptions: A One-page Guide for Policymakers

The Global Network Initiative today launched “Weighing the Impact of Network Shutdowns and Service Restrictions — Considerations for Policymakers,” a one-page guide aimed at governments who may consider mandating disruptions of communications networks services and online platforms. The one-page guide is available in Amharic, Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, [...] July 18, 2017|Issues, media releases, network disruptions, Publication|

GNI Co-Hosts Network Disruptions Learning Call with Freedom Online Coalition and Access Now

On 27 June, the Global Network Initiative Now co-hosted a learning call on government-sponsored intentional network disruptions alongside the Freedom Online Coalition and AccessNow. GNI sought feedback on our one-page brief, “Weighing the Impact of Network Shutdowns and Service Restrictions,” to be launched next week. We [...] July 7, 2017|Issues, media releases, network disruptions|

GNI Welcomes UN Expert’s Report on Free Expression and the Digital Access Industry

The Global Network Initiative welcomes the 2017 report to the UN Human Rights Council presented by UN Special Rapporteur for freedom of opinion and expression David Kaye. The report is a timely warning on the escalating threats to digital expression and Internet freedom, including increasing [...] June 13, 2017|Issues, media releases, network disruptions, surveillance|

GNI Welcomes Freedom Online Coalition Joint Statement on State-Sponsored Network Disruptions

The Global Network Initiative welcomes the Joint Statement and accompanying Good Practices for Governments on State-Sponsored Network Disruptions issued by the Freedom Online Coalition (FOC). In its statement, the partnership of 30 governments working to advance internet freedom “expresses deep concern over the growing trend of intentional state-sponsored disruptions of access to [...] April 5, 2017|Issues, media releases, network disruptions|

GNI Welcomes Freedom Online Coalition Joint Statement on State-Sponsored Network Disruptions

The Global Network Initiative welcomes the Joint Statement and accompanying Good Practices for Governments on State-Sponsored Network Disruptions issued by the Freedom Online Coalition (FOC). In its statement, the partnership of 30 governments working to advance internet freedom “expresses deep concern over the growing trend of intentional state-sponsored disruptions of access [...] April 5, 2017|Issues, media releases, network disruptions|

GNI Concerned About Restrictions on Internet Access in Cameroon

“The shutdown in Cameroon appears to be calculated to target political speech,” said Mark Stephens, CBE., Independent Board Chair. January 24, 2017|Issues, media releases, network disruptions|

GNI Urges the Democratic Republic of Congo to Refrain from Blocking Social Media

GNI is deeply concerned by the government's statutory order that telecommunications operators block social media beginning Monday, December 19, when President Joseph Kabila’s second term of office ends. December 16, 2016|Issues, media releases, network disruptions|

GNI Expresses Concern About Ongoing blocking of Facebook in Nauru

“The Government of Nauru should restore access to Facebook and commit to ensuring internet connectivity for all their citizens consistent with international human rights norms.” December 13, 2016|Issues, media releases, network disruptions|

GNI Workshop at 2016 IGF: Inclusive Responses to Intentional Internet Disruptions

The workshop used breakout groups to facilitate detailed discussions of three topics pertaining to shutdowns: connections to elections and moments of political importance, economic impacts, and technical considerations. | December 10, 2016 | Network Shutdowns | December 10, 2016|events, Issues, media releases, network disruptions|
  • A folder with paper and research

GNI Provides Input to UN Special Rapporteur’s Study on Telcos and the Internet Access Sector

As companies respond to government requests that can impact freedom of expression and privacy, the GNI Principles and Implementation Guidelines can steer the ICT sector. Read more for the full submission. November 18, 2016|Issues, media releases, network disruptions, Publication, surveillance|

LinkedIn Blocked in Russia

The Global Network Initiative is deeply concerned that LinkedIn has been blocked in Russia. The blocking order from the Russian regulator was put into effect today. November 11, 2016|Issues, media releases, network disruptions|

Disruptions of Social Media Platforms in Turkey

The Global Network Initiative is closely monitoring reports that access to social media platforms in Turkey is being widely disrupted. These latest restrictions come after reports last week of a complete Internet shutdown in the southeast of the country, and follow a series of other [...] November 7, 2016|Issues, media releases, network disruptions|

​New Report Reveals the Economic Costs of Internet Shutdowns

Governments who disrupt the Internet could be shaving off 1.9 percent of their daily GDP. Read more for the full report. October 27, 2016|Issues, media releases, network disruptions, reports|

GNI Joins Brookings Panel on The Economic Cost of Internet Shutdowns

GNI Director of Communications Kath Cummins called on governments to recognize the challenges shutdowns pose for economic development, rather than viewing shutdowns solely through a security lens. October 7, 2016|events, media releases, network disruptions|

GNI Concerned by Internet Shutdown in Ethiopia

GNI is concerned by reports showing the Ethiopian Government blocked Internet access amid escalating anti-government protests. October 6, 2016|Issues, media releases, network disruptions|

Once Again, Brazilian Judge Orders WhatsApp Block

The Global Network Initiative is alarmed by yet another order by a Brazilian judge to block the WhatsApp messaging service across the entire country. July 19, 2016|Issues, media releases, network disruptions|
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