Cubans facing the country’s worst economic crisis in decades took to the streets over the weekend. In turn, authorities blocked social media sites in an apparent effort to stop the flow of information into, out of and within the beleaguered nation.
Myanmar’s military rulers are seeking to limit access to the internet to an internal network of only “whitelisted” sites to quash opposition to their seizure of power, according to a report by the International Crisis Group.
Russia has implemented a novel censorship method in an ongoing effort to silence Twitter. Instead of blocking the social media site outright, the country is using previously unseen techniques to slow traffic to a crawl and make the site all but unusable for people inside the country.
After 50 years of political and economic isolation, Myanmar embarked on a hopeful period of transition in 2011, which culminated in the election of a civilian government in 2015. Almost as soon as the country opened up to the world, internet penetration began to rise, increasing over the next decade from 0.25 percent in 2010 to 41 percent in 2020, thanks to the arrival of international communication companies, including from China. As internet connectivity grew, so did mobile services and social media. As of mid-February 2021, there are 29 million social media users, equivalent to 53 percent of the population.
Researchers at Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic and International Human Rights Clinic collaborated with three human rights organizations based in Myanmar to produce a study on internet restrictions in Myanmar and Bangladesh, according to a white paper the groups published last month.
China’s censors finally blocked Clubhouse, but not before users were able to bypass the caricatures painted by government-controlled media and freely discuss their hopes and fears.
India ended an 18-month-long ban on high speed internet services on mobile devices in disputed Kashmir, where opposition to New Delhi has deepened after it revoked the region’s semi-autonomy.
Myanmar’s army has ordered internet service providers to block access to Facebook as it attempts to stamp out signs of dissent, days after it ousted the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.
Access to the internet in Myanmar dropped sharply after the military detained leaders of ruling party National League for Democracy, including Aung San Suu Kyi, and declared a state of emergency. The NLD won a wide majority of parliamentary seats in November’s general election, which the military alleges was the result of election fraud. In a statement on military-owned television, the army said a year-long state of emergency would be declared in Myanmar and power handed to military chief Min Aung Hlaing.
The Trump appointee who oversees the government’s global media operations is moving to shut down a federally funded nonprofit that helps support internet access around the world, documents show, a decision that could limit people’s ability to get around constraints in places that tightly control internet access, like Iran and China.