Internet shutdown advisory

State actors across the world are increasingly resorting to shutting down access to the internet, according to a new report out Wednesday.

The groups behind the report — the digital rights nonprofit Access Now and Google’s research unit Jigsaw — hope it will help bring attention to what they call a growing human rights threat.

“We wanted to share this research in part because this has become a worryingly common occurrence across the world,” Dan Keyserling, chief operating officer at Jigsaw, told The Hill.

Some background: Between 2011 — when the Egyptian government famously closed off access to the web for nearly the whole country — and 2019, intentional disruptions grew from a handful to 213 recorded cases, according to Access Now. While cases of internet shutdowns dipped to 155 in 2020, their combined duration rose 49 percent.

Access Now documented 50 internet shutdowns across 21 countries in the first five months of 2021.

Reasoning: Governments choose to disrupt access to apps, individual sites or the whole web for a variety of reasons, including perceived national security risks and stopping the spread of misinformation.

Regardless of the efficacy of shutdowns to address concerns like terrorist attacks, they have serious material effects.