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Internet shutdowns are a political weapon. It’s time to disarm.

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Scott Carpenter
Contributor

Scott Carpenter is Jigsaw’s Director of Policy and International Engagement. Prior to Google, Carpenter served as the Keston Family Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and as the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Democracy and Human Rights.

Authoritarian governments from twenty-one countries have deliberately shut down internet service at least fifty times this year, and the problem is only bound to get worse. As regimes such as Venezuela face elections and Cuba experience protests, they’re finding it easier to contain dissent by curtailing digital freedoms – and are becoming increasingly brazen in doing so.
Shutting down the internet can be as easy as flipping a switch. Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt took this approach in 2011, and ten years later, Myanmar’s daily shutdowns lasted months – depriving hundreds of thousands of people of the means to communicate and shrinking the country’s GDP by an estimated 2. …

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