Internet shutdowns are dangerous acts of digital authoritarianism. In 2021, authorities deliberately shut down the internet at least 182 times across 34 countries. This exposes a dramatic increase in the use of this oppressive form of control compared to 159 shutdowns recorded in 29 countries in 2020.
“Authorities shut down the internet to shut down democracy,” said Felicia Anthonio, #KeepItOn Campaign Manager at Access Now. “These vicious weapons of digital dictatorship were wielded at least 182 times in 2021, disrupting not only everyday life, but attacking critical moments in a nation’s epoch — during protests, wars, and elections. That’s 182 times a leader decided to deliberately silence a people instead of empowering them to speak.”
Access Now’s new report, The return of digital authoritarianism: internet shutdowns in 2021, unpacks the data, trends, and stories behind last year’s internet shutdowns. Read the full report and the global snapshot.