Analyzing the Causes & Impacts of Internet Shutdowns

09 December 2016 - A Workshop on Guadalajara,Mexico


Blanket shutdowns of Internet services, usually as a means to forestall violence and civic unrest, have been gaining traction in recent times, especially in developing countries. This practice has been heavily condemned in international policy circles as being unjustifiable under human rights law, yet the shutdowns continue to occur with ever-increasing frequency. Restricting Internet access to large sections of the population has several wide-ranging consequences, including compromising the right to free speech and freedom of information and knowledge, in addition to making for an inhospitable environment for businesses and other entities that rely on the Internet for functioning. It also discounts the possibility of targeted content filtration as a means to achieve similar ends, choosing instead to restrict all access to online content and services en masse. This has dangerous implications for the future of the Internet, as frequent disruptions in service threaten to undermine its stability and reliability, thereby impacting its role as a universally accessible platform for delivery of content and services. This panel aims to explore the causes and ground-level impacts of Internet shutdowns with a view to uncovering the motivations behind such measures, laws and policies that allow them to happen and ways to prevent them.

List of speakers and their institutional affiliations

  • Brett Solomon (Executive Director, Access Now)
  • Nicolas Seidler (Senior Policy Advisor, ISOC)
  • Amos Toh (Legal Advisor to the UN Special Rapporteur, David Kaye)
  • Hibah Kamal-Grayson (Senior Policy Analyst, Google)
  • Rajan Mathews (Director General, Cellular Operators Association of India)
  • Nanjira Sambuli (Digital Equality Advocacy Manager, World Wide Web Foundation)
  • Gisela Perez de Acha (Public Policy Manager, Derechos Digitales)
  • Jan Ryzdak (Global Network Initiative)