Data from a new study suggests that in 2022 the Internet was down in a record number of countries and for longer periods of time.
A study by Access Now found that governments and other market players have shut down the Internet at least 187 times in 35 different countries. And this is a record number of countries according to the data that the organization has.
India had the most internet outages during 2022, with a total of 84 outages, marking the 5th year in a row that the country has topped the rankings for this indicator.
“Internet outages not only increased after a certain decline at the peak of the pandemic, but also lasted longer, affecting certain segments of the population at times when people needed to be connected more – in particular, during humanitarian crises, mass protests, active conflicts and wars,” says the report released by the agency.
In second place in terms of the number of shutdowns (outages) was Ukraine. Due to Russian aggression, the Internet in our country has disappeared 22 times since the start of a full-scale war.
The reason for the Internet outages was protests, active conflicts, exams and elections in different countries.
Across 16 countries, there were 62 outages during protests, 33 outages were related to active conflict, eight outages in six countries were to “prevent cheating during exams,” and five outages in five countries were election-related.
The report also notes that 48 shutdowns in 14 countries occurred with documented human rights violations, in particular, we are talking about zones of active conflict in Ukraine and Yemen. The report states that 133 of the 187 outages involved some form of violence, and notes that the violence associated with the outages is on the rise.
Internet outages are also getting longer. The study found that 16 outages that occurred in 2022 have continued since 2021. As of early 2023, at least 12 outages lasted for about a year.
Access Now uses multiple databases to update its Shutdown Tracker Optimization Project, which tracks Internet outages around the world. It has internet outage data from 2016 to 2022.