Welcome to the Era of Internet Blackouts
The Iranian government's 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 highlights the stunning global prevalence of connectivity disruptions and their increasing relevance to people and organizations all around the world. In 2022, Cloudflare began publishing reports that compile its internal observations about government internet blackouts and notable outages worldwide. As a content delivery network that also provides digital resiliency services, the company sees an array of signals when a chunk of the internet goes dark. The specific geopolitical context and technical nuances of different digital disruptions can make it difficult, or unhelpful, to make granular comparisons of disparate incidents. But Cloudflare, which operates in more than 100 countries and interconnects with more than 10,000 network providers, is using its vantage point and visibility into the global internet to track broader trends and offer a sense of scale about how pervasive internet shutdowns have become. It was noted that the increased government reliance in many places on digital curfews and intermittent, recurring shutdowns—a trend that seems very likely to continue.
Welcome to the Era of Internet Blackouts Internet disruptions overview for Q4 2022 (Cloudflare)