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Deliberate internet shutdowns are on the rise, or at least they were in 2021. A new report, “The return of digital authoritarianism: internet shutdowns in 2021”, from Access Now shows that authorities and governments in 34 countries “deliberately shut down the internet at least 182 times” last year. This is an increase from about 159 shutdowns in 29 countries in 2020.

A representative of Access Now called these intentional shutdowns “vicious weapons of digital dictatorship”, explaining how this tactic was wielded to silence dissent during war, protest and elections. The motley crew of internet shutdown-happy governments include Myanmar, Iran and Sudan, but the worst offender was India, which reportedly flipped the off switch 106 times in 2021. India has been the worst offender on this measure for four consecutive years...

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