The Iranian government’s latest attempts in recent months to stifle protests through internet blackouts, digital curfews, and content blocking have presented a particularly extreme example of how far regimes can go in restricting digital access. But a new report from the internet infrastructure company Cloudflare, released today, highlights the stunning global prevalence of connectivity disruptions and their increasing relevance to people and organizations all around the world.
Infrastructure that works well rarely stands out. The internet infrastructure provided by Cloudflare, which provides a content delivery network that safeguards millions of sites online, is a notable exception. Last year, Cloudflare came under intense pressure to stop providing its services to 8chan, the online message board popular among white supremacists, after the gunmen in three separate shootings posted manifestos on the site prior to their attacks. 8chan had relied on the company’s content delivery network to keep its message board online and accessible. After initially saying it had no legal obligation to do so, the company eventually relented and denied 8chan the use of its services.