Info-paedia : Global Internet Shutdowns

Why in News?

  • A recent ‘Cost of Internet Shutdowns Report’ by UK-based Top10VPN revealed that intentional Internet shutdowns affected 710 million people and led to an economic loss of about $ 24 billion across the globe in 2022.

Indian Scenario

  • 34 major shutdowns in 2022; most by any country.
  • Total cost of internet restrictions was $184.3 mn.
  • Rajasthan and J&K witnessed major internet outages.

Legal provisions in India

  • Section 69(A) of IT (Amendment) Act, 2008 gives powers to block particular websites.
  • Various governments have used s/c 144 of CrPC & Indian Telegraph Act 1885 to suspend the internet.
  • In 2017, Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency and Public Safety) Rules,were notified.

Internet Shutdown (IS)

  • The IS is defined as an intentional disruption of internet or electronic communications for a specific population or location, to exert control over flow of information.
  • Only the Home Secretary of the Union /state can pass an IS order.
  • An officer of rank of Joint Secretary or above, authorized by home secretary can pass IS order in exigencies.
  • IS is caused by-
    • Telecommunications kill-switches.
    • Forcing ISPs to shut down.
    • Manipulating the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP).
    • Blocking all internet traffic to specific IP addresses.
    • Social media shutdowns or throttling.