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Report says data "provides strong indicators" internet was shut down during protests

Author: Moses Karanja (CIPIT), Maria Xynou & Arturo Filastò, in Open Observatory of Network Interference's blog, Published on: 22 October 2016

"Ethiopia: Internet Shutdown Amidst Recent Protests?"

Nearly 100 deaths and thousands of arrests have been reported in Ethiopia over the last days, as part of protests against the marginalization and persecution of the Oromos and Amharas, Ethiopia’s two largest ethnic groups...Last weekend, the internet was reportedly shut down in the country.

In an attempt to understand whether the internet was in fact shut down, we looked at some public sources of data that contain information about internet traffic. Such data provides strong indicators that the internet was most likely shut down during the Ethiopian protests last weekend, though it remains unclear if this occurred in all regions and/or on all types of networks across the country...

Internet shutdowns effectively pose restrictions on demonstrations and on human rights generally. In the recent case of Ethiopia, shutting down the internet in the middle of intense protests likely not only had an effect on the mobilization and coordination of protesters, but also on the communication between families and friends of victims. This also likely had an effect on journalists reporting on the protests in real-time on the ground, if they were using networks that were blocked.

 

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