India record highest number of Internet shutdowns in the world

From January to mid-August 2018, local authorities ordered service providers to temporarily shut down Internet access in at least 96 reported incidents in 19 states, the report said. This number was 70 in 2017.

Published: Nov 1, 2018
Image: Shutterstock

Neha Alawadhi
Moneycontrol News

India leads the world in the number of Internet shutdowns, and its Internet freedom score fell by 2 points to 43 in the latest Freedom on the Net report.

The report, an annual study which looks at Internet freedom in 65 countries, measures Internet freedom score based on three parameters- obstacles to access, limits on content and violations of user rights. It scores countries on scores of 0 to 100, where a zero score means the country is "most free" and 100 means "least free".

"India leads the world in the number of internet shutdowns, with over 100 reported incidents in 2018 alone," the latest report notes.

From January to mid-August 2018, local authorities ordered service providers to temporarily shut down Internet access in at least 96 reported incidents in 19 states, the report said. This number was 70 in 2017.

State-wise, Jammu and Kashmir recorded the highest number of Internet shutdowns with at least 36 documented incidents in 2018. Other States where Internet was shut down include Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, and Haryana and Rajasthan.

The report added that Indian and Sri Lankan authorities temporarily shut down mobile networks or blocked social media apps during riots and protests, claiming that the measures were necessary to halt the flow of disinformation and incitement to violence.

India's online freedom status, for the past few years, has been "partly free" in the report.

The small Northern European country Estonia and Iceland tied for the best internet freedom score, and China was found to be the world’s worst abuser of online freedom for the third consecutive year, followed by Syria and Ethiopia.

Of the 65 countries that the report looked at, 26 recorded overall decline since June 2017, while 19 registered net improvements.

India also reported arrests for online speech ,including for content distributed on WhatsApp and Facebook.

The United States score also rose to 22 from 21 from the past year, even though the Internet freedom status continued to remain "free" in the country.

The one point fall was attributed to the US repealing its net neutrality rules.

India fared largely better than its neighbours- Pakistan was scored 73 (not free), Bangladesh 51 (partly free), Sri Lanka 47 (partly free). Nepal is not art of the 65 countries studied for the report.

Original Source: https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/technology/india-record-highest-number-of-internet-shutdowns-in-the-world-3115981.html