The global internet kill switch

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Internet shutdowns are on the rise worldwide. Image: Pexels/Hasan Albari

Katharina Buchholz
Data Journalist, Statista
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Internet Governance

  • Internet shutdowns are happening more often around the world, a new report finds.
  • This graphic shows that the total number of countries using shutdowns has also risen over the past 6 years.
  • And that most of these events are occurring in India, though the country saw its lowest number of shutdowns in 2022, Statista says.

The global number of internet shutdowns has been rising again for the second year in a row. A newly released report by Access Now puts the number of internet shutdowns in 2022 at 187. Just under half - 84 - happened in India.

In the year of 2020, the number of internet shutdowns dipped. Many governments use internet shutdowns in connection with curbing protests and dissent and the pandemic likely caused fewer of these events to happen as stay-at-home orders were issued and limits on gatherings were imposed. The highest number of internet shutdowns since reporting started in 2016 was reached in 2019 at 213. The same year also saw the highest figure of internet shutdowns in India - 121. Despite the country consistently registering the most internet shutdowns since the inception of the survey, 2022 saw India's share in total global internet shutdowns decrease to the lowest point in years. Simultaneously, the total number of countries that employ internet shutdowns has risen, surpassing the 2019 number again as of 2021.

Shutdowns in India clustered in Kashmir in 2022, but also in Rajasthan, where they have been used during protests (and preemptively when protests were expected), but also during exams in recent months. Both regions have seen violence often tied to tension between Hindus and Muslims, in Kashmir also in connection with the Muslim-led independence movement.

The number of internet shutdowns and where they happened 2016-2022
The number of internet shutdowns and where they happened 2016-2022. Image: Statista/Access Now
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