How Governments Shut Down the Internet | WSJ

How Governments Shut Down the Internet | WSJ


(pulsing electronic tones) – [Narrator] More governments
are kicking people off the internet than ever before. It usually happens during
politically-sensitive times like elections, protests, and conflicts. Last year, governments
shut down the internet more frequently than in previous years according to a digital rights group that started tracking
the practice in 2011. For instance, in India, it happened in parts of the
country more than 100 times. Authorities say shutdowns help stop unrest and the spread of fake news and even prevent cheating on school exams. Advocates for an open
internet say shutdowns can cripple economies
and disrupt daily life all while curtailing civil rights, so here’s how governments can
kick you off the internet. Usually when you type in
a URL or hit an app icon, the Domain Name System
looks up that address and resolves it to a string
of pre-assigned numbers. In under a second, you can
usually connect to the server and access the site. If the government wants to
block access to a specific site, it can request the
Internet service provider to interfere with the DNS traffic. The provider can then redirect traffic so it never reaches those servers. This happened last year at the
height of a political crisis in Venezuela when opposition
leader Juan Guaido tried to seize power from
President Nicolas Maduro. Guaido was standing with soldiers outside a military base when he began live-streaming on Twitter. (Juan speaking foreign language) – [Narrator] He called people to rise up against President Nicolas Maduro. While Guaido’s call to action
ricocheted across the world, at home, his message was blocked for a large number of internet users. This chart shows that Venezuela’s state-run internet provider restricted access to social media. The company didn’t respond
to a request for comment. – We’re looking at something
similar to radio censorship or TV censorship when
authorities might bleep out parts of a sentence or a speech. – [Narrator] Alp Toker is the founder of an internet advocacy
group called NetBlocks. He says it’s surprisingly
easy for the government to turn off access to specific sites. – [Alp] This is basically an engineer with a button on the switch. When they see something they don’t like, they press the button. – [Narrator] But authorities
can be more subtle in how they control the internet, not just by blocking sites, but by simply slowing down the connection. (bubble popping)
(pleasant electronic music) This is called throttling, so it looks like you’re
apps are still running when, in fact, the
interference is at a level that makes using the internet painful, so the video you’re
trying to watch on YouTube becomes very low res or it keeps loading. We spoke to network engineers who monitor internet censorship, and they say that it’s even hard for them to really pinpoint the specific reason behind a slow connection, and they say that’s likely
why some governments have turned to throttling
to shrug off accountability. In some extreme cases, governments can order service providers to turn off the internet completely. This happened last year during
anti-government protests in Iraq when the internet was cut off. (phone buzzing) – You connect the WiFi
and opened the browser, there is nothing and the
provider sent us messages we are sorry because the
government cut off the internet. – [Narrator] Ameer Hazim
is an Iraqi photographer in Baghdad, and he’s been
posting his photos on Instagram. The Iraqi Prime Minister at the time said it’s the government’s
right to restrict access when the internet is being
used to stoke violence and conspiracy against the homeland. Because internet blackouts
disrupt critical services and can hurt the economy, authorities often target specific networks and geographic areas. At the height of the protests in Iraq, the government imposed
daily digital curfews between five p.m. to seven a.m. Then during business hours, the government ordered service providers to turn on the connection again. We spoke to private companies
in several countries, and they say they have little
power to refuse a request because authorities can threaten to terminate their licenses. Citizens have looked for workarounds like using VPNs that connect to networks outside of the country. Some will pay for expensive
satellite connections. Others, like Hazim, have
bought international SIM cards from Jordan that are activated
before entering Iraq. – That helped us to keep people updated. I started during lives from Tahrir Square showing the area around
and what’s happening really and how people are living and how the government are using violence. – [Narrator] Toker says these solutions may end up encouraging more aggressive moves from the government. – The more people
attempt to get around it, the more governments are
gonna try to switch it off. – [Narrator] The UN says
restrictions on internet access are a violation of human rights, but many countries already have laws that make it legal to
shut down the internet on grounds related to national security or stopping the spread of fake news. – [Alp] So while this
might have started off as authoritarian dictatorship move, it gets encoded into laws. It becomes very difficult for the public to complain about it. (buzzing electronic tones)


100 thoughts on “How Governments Shut Down the Internet | WSJ

  1. I fingerfucked my girlfriend and then sniffed my fingers. It was great. And you could smell it on my fingers for probably three days.

  2. Governments
    Are run by evil pedophiles
    Saville + Epstein proved its 100% true

    Censorship of free speech is how they admit their guilt

  3. And censorship goes much further than just an on/off switch. Look at china’s technology, where specific posts are blocked because AI recognized it resembled people gathered at a protest or a print on a picture. Half of china never knew what was really going on in Hong Kong, with their internet experience never being affected. Meanwhile, the govenment upped their output of content to drown out the “fake news” coming from Hong Kong.

  4. Funny how she saya India had 100+ shutdowns and then goes on to give 0 examples. It's much worse here because it's a "democratic" government that's doing this. They shut down the internet over issues that seem petty compared to what's happening elsewhere.

  5. it becomes easy for terrorist/separatist/fringe group to mobilise masses via Internet and spread faster. This becomes tough for the govt to curtail the riots and violence.

    loss of property and life is bound to happen that causes a much more economic stress than just Internet shutdown.

    any freedom and rights to have something doesn't translate to snatching of that same of your neighbour. my right to have protest by blocking roads does not mean to take away rights of my neighbour of using that road.

  6. People vote, on the research and input from others..
    Although it happens for short times… it doesn't change elections more than an already biased media..

  7. The deep state is already censoring the internet here in the USA. Just look at what happened to the r/The_Donald subreddit.

  8. told about indias 100 shutdowns but gave example of IRAQ.Thats called part time journalism. EASILY someone can guess how indian govt. banned internet for whole weeks last year around november and december

  9. The us govt does the same thing… dont believe me? Refute it with actual proof, my rebuttal would be ajits attempt at an inside job.

  10. I live in india and few months ago internet was cut in our area for three days because there was a conflict going about ram mandir issue, but the thing is I live in delhi NCR and the conflict was nowhere near our area so were left without internet for 3 days for no apparent reason and my business is entirely online.

  11. This is why we need peer to peer networking technology that prevents anyone from being able to control (or block) communication.

  12. we invite the learned wsj to come to india and control the lyncings and rioting spread through fake news with the resources that india has.
    I wonder how easy it is to claim this nonsense from half way across the world and completely ignore the groung realities. We understand human rights…..clean air is a human right in India….do we have that? W e are trying with what we have.
    It is same with the right to life…..it comes before and above the right to internet. We wouls also like wsj to please go to lynched people's families and burnt houses due to riots just to get a glimpse of the scale of it.

  13. Shame on WSJ for having an article titled, “U.S. Coronavirus Outbreak widens.” Only to have a pay filter “sign up” page populate, with no access to the article without payment. Truly the most shameless yellow/extortive journalism practices. Examine your journalism ethics.

    SHAME ON YOU WSJ.

  14. my think : it might there was a protest, making broke an cable…
    people think + WSJ : the government has turn off internet

  15. Don't forget tower spoofing and man in the middle attacks that have happened during holidays, anniversaries, and civil unrest. A government spoofed a fake certificate, key, and copy of a popular website during an anniversary. Those people went and posted on it thinking it was real. I'd say their social scores went down a bit. And by down, I mean incarcerated.

  16. India’s Internet shutdown in Kashmir is the longest ever in a democracy

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/indias-internet-shutdown-in-kashmir-is-now-the-longest-ever-in-a-democracy/2019/12/15/bb0693ea-1dfc-11ea-977a-15a6710ed6da_story.html

  17. Actually democracy is turning into Monarchy system. The difference is you choose monarch for 4 or 5 years…. Then you choose some other monarch for another 4 or 5 years

  18. sadly this also hapens in democratic countries, not only authoritarian countires. Spain has restricted access to some websites without a judicial order multiple times trying to avoid the comunication of Catalan independency movement

  19. Just lived this mess around the time you posted this video- IT SUCKS!
    ooooo that Alp guy is definitely Turkish like me

  20. In algeria ,This has been going for a year now the state owned internet provider shut the internet in serval occasions and not the whole country is under severe throttling

  21. Right to internet isn't given much importance like other rights…. It's a factor to be taken seriously especially in this technological driven future where the internet is ever increasingly becoming crucial

  22. This explains all the censorship in big tech in the US. Most silicon valley employees are Indians on h1b visas.

  23. Let's not forget that silicon valley has been destroying internet freedom for years now selfishly molding it's in their image.

  24. Ik the contents of the video are on a sensitive topic
    But who tf animates these videos, the animations are so satisfying…

  25. But it does help stop spread of unrest. Lots of terrorist groups operate via facebook, cutting the line will largely block communications.

  26. How maduro can be so hypocrite Denouncing other countries oppression when he's the one that oppresses the most his country in South America?

  27. Shutting down over protests, I hate protestors even more. I need to buy myself a satellite one day so I can get myself internet without being affected by people who have no clue what they are doing, actually all they are doing is screaming and rioting. That's not going to help, the government can just kick you out of their country

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