Internet shutdowns pose a threat to human rights not only in Pakistan but around the world as well. An internet shutdown is an intentional disruption of internet or electronic communications, rendering them inaccessible or effectively unusable, for a specific population or within a location, often to exert control over the flow of information. Frequently, government officials order companies to cut off people’s access to communications tools during times of social unrest, public protest, political upheaval, or times of conflict. Unfortunately, companies nearly always comply with government requests.
“The habit of suspending of communication services under the pretext of security risk and terrorism in Pakistan takes it origins from the volatile province of Balochistan where the government is fighting nationalist elements in an ongoing battle for Balochistan. Over the last couple of years the government has been guilty of suspending mobile phone and internet services in most parts of Balochistan during occasions such as celebrations marking the Independence Day and Defense day now termed by many as “Blackouts”. Arzak Khan- Cyber Policy Expert from Pakistan
“Shutting down of internet services and mobile phones during Eid Festival is disastrous for our business. We are unable to contact with the manufacturer in time to order more supplies. Eid is the only high peak business season in these distressing times and if we are unable to make money our families will starve”. Abdul Hafeez- Local Businessman from Karachi, Pakistan
“Asad a college student fumes with the government’s decision for suspending mobile phone and internet services in August. “This pointing to his iPhone is the hub of my social life and the government has taken it away from me”. The use of mobile phones is so regular in Pakistan that it has become part of people lives to such an extent we teenagers feel lost without it”.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Join our #KeepItOn campaign, download and remix our Visuals Kit with #KeepitOn graphics, and spread the word
Document any evidence of a shutdown, such as through screenshots of 404 pages or official announcements
Tell governments and carriers that shutdowns violate your human rights!
To join in, just tweet us your response to one of the questions below:
- What would be the worst thing that could happen to you if the government shut off the internet tomorrow?
- What is it like to experience an internet shutdown?
We’d love for you to be part of this effort and to help shape the conversation. Share your thoughts on the prompts above using #KeepItOn, and check out what others have to say.