According to reports, governments around the world are tightening control over citizens’ data and using claims of “fake news” to suppress dissent, eroding trust in the internet as well as the foundations of democracy.
Most government regimes and other organizations use the following ways to put internet injustices on individuals. They include Obstacles to access – majorly infrastructure barriers and total control of the internet, Limits on content – what’s is allowed and what’s not and lastly, violation of human rights – involves privacy and surveillance. All these are a total violation of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers.”
But in some places, its much worse as the citizens may experience an internet shut down beside the above injustices.
Internet shutdown – Its consequences
Internet shutdown is the intentional disruption of the internet with the aim of making it unusable and inaccessible to exert control on the flow of information. It also involves the disruption of mobile apps and other electronic communication that may or may not rely on the internet. The government orchestrates internet shutdowns.
The most affected form of communication by government internet shutdowns is social media (Facebook, YouTube, Google, Blogs) and to an extent media houses. Internet shutdowns maybe total or partial especially in election times.
These injustices are majorly experienced in Asia and Africa. Some parts of Europe and South America are affected too. According to reports, these shutdowns have been on the rise and 2018 has a larger number of internet shutdowns than the previous years.
Internet shutdowns have various consequences such as diminished digital freedom of internet users and restraints on the growth of the economy.
Surviving an internet shutdown and other injustices
Most internet shutdowns are partial, and the involved agencies use techniques such as blocking of websites, censorship, and technical filtering of IP and inspections of data packets. Good news, these methods can be bypassed, and you can reclaim your digital freedom easily. Here is how;
- Use a reputable VPN
Reputable VPNs have strong encryption protocols that ensure your internet traffic is not visible to prying eyes including the government. These VPNs also implement Tor over VPN functionality to give you ultimate privacy when surfing the restricted internet. Most importantly, these VPNs use obfuscation techniques that scramble your VPN traffic and make it seem like normal traffic. This way, you get to avoid detection by government watchdogs and other regulating agencies.
- Use anonymous tools such as Tor
The Onion Router network is one of the best anonymizers in the world. Its network is composed of several nodes and relays. When using Tor, your internet traffic is encrypted and then anonymized by being zig-zagged and relayed over the nodes. This zig-zag is done in a successive random manner in that when your traffic finally reaches its destination, the source of your data won’t be known, only the address on the exit node is revealed. This makes it difficult for anyone tracking you and results to a higher level of anonymization which is capable of protecting your privacy from surveillance and even traffic analysis.
- Use secure communication apps
Use untraceable communication apps that also offer end to end encryptions. Essentially, besides the above two ways, these apps will be very crucial in relaying information over a partial internet shutdown. One of the best apps to use is Signal.