Internet Shutdowns: Strategies for Survival

Published Categorized as Tips & Tricks

Unveiling the Dystopia: Internet Shutdowns on the Rise

A Deeper Dive into the Suppression Tactics

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital freedom, the ominous shadow of internet shutdowns looms larger than ever. As we delve into the intricacies of this suppressive maneuver, it becomes imperative to equip ourselves with strategies to ensure continued access to an open and unrestricted online world. Ceinwen Thomas sheds light on the increasing prevalence of internet shutdowns, offering insights into their locations, motivations, and dire consequences.

Decoding Internet Shutdowns: An Overview

Unraveling the What, Why, and Where

Defined by AccessNow as intentional disruptions orchestrated by entities, often governmental, to control narratives, internet shutdowns manifest in two forms: total, blocking all access, or partial, restricting specific websites or apps. The economic toll of a complete shutdown, running into millions, restrains its frequency, making partial shutdowns a more common occurrence.

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Mapping the Battlefield: Global Incidents

A Glimpse into the Shutdown Landscape

AccessNow’s data, spanning January to May 2023, unveils shutdowns in 21 countries, including India, Myanmar, Iran, Ukraine, Pakistan, Ethiopia, and Russia. These episodes coincide with periods of conflict, intense dissent, or elections, all orchestrated to control the flow of information and shape a tailored narrative.

The Domino Effect: Consequences of Internet Blackouts

Eroding Freedom and Stifling Growth

The infringement on the fundamental right to internet access, as highlighted by the UN Human Rights Council Resolution of 2016, is a cornerstone of shutdown consequences. The risk of amplifying resentment towards governments and the economic fallout, estimated at billions, underscores the perilous journey towards digital authoritarian rule.

Navigating the Maze: Strategies for Survival

Partial Shutdown Survival Guide

Tactics to Preserve Connectivity Amidst Restrictions

As internet blackouts become more frequent globally, users must arm themselves with tools to bypass restrictions. The following strategies serve as a lifeline in situations of heightened censorship, allowing users to maintain online presence amidst limitations.

1. Embrace Anonymity with Tor

Utilize Tor, an unparalleled free and open-source software, safeguarding your online activities from prying eyes. Achieving anonymity on the internet becomes an attainable feat with the robust protection offered by Tor.

2. Empower Your Access with VPNs

A reliable VPN secures internet access, ensuring the utmost freedom. Enhance privacy further by combining Tor with VPN, creating a fortified shield against surveillance. The recommendation stands strong for browsers like Tor and Mozilla’s Firefox, championing privacy.

3. Fortify Privacy with Secure Tools and Apps

Elevate your privacy stance by choosing browsers that prioritize your data security, such as Tor or Firefox. Embrace secure communication channels like Signal, fortifying your digital interactions against potential threats.

Total Shutdown Survival Strategies

Preparing for the Abyss: Ensuring Access in the Face of Complete Blackouts

For those anticipating a complete loss of online access, strategic planning and proactive measures are essential. The following tactics offer a blueprint for survival, empowering individuals to navigate the void left by a total internet shutdown.

1. Smartphone Ad Hoc Networks: The Power of Connectivity

Leverage the collective power of smartphones to establish a localized wireless ad hoc network, operating through Bluetooth. Applications like Bridgefy become invaluable, facilitating offline messaging within the network.

2. Sneakernet: Offline Information Exchange

Embrace the concept of a “sneakernet,” an offline network reliant on human movement. This innovative approach involves the physical transfer of information using devices like USB sticks and external hard drives.

3. Data Hoarding: A Shield Against Information Erosion

Prepare for political turbulence by adopting a strategy of data hoarding. Safeguard critical information, including historical documents, operation manuals, operating systems, and cultural media, to defy oppression and censorship.

In conclusion, the battle for digital freedom intensifies, and the need for survival strategies grows more pressing. By understanding the landscape of internet shutdowns and adopting proactive measures, individuals can navigate the challenges posed by these suppressive tactics.


Q1: Why do internet shutdowns occur? A1: Internet shutdowns are orchestrated, often by governments, to control information flow during periods of conflict, dissent, or elections.

Q2: How do I maintain online presence during a partial shutdown? A2: Utilize tools like Tor and VPNs, prioritizing privacy. Embrace secure browsers and communication channels to fortify your online presence.

Q3: What is a sneakernet? A3: A sneakernet is an offline network relying on human movement for information transfer, utilizing devices like USB sticks and external hard drives.

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