Parallel Session 6: Internet Shutdowns: A “Think and Do” Discussion on Multistakeholder Responses
The scale and scope of government-ordered Internet shutdowns over the past few years has grown exponentially. According to Access Now, the number of shutdowns has increased from 75 in 2016 to 196 in 2018 and 114 in the first half of 2019 alone. State-sponsored shutdowns are a tool to quell protests, curb criticisms against the government, or limit information leading up to and during elections. They can violate the freedom of expression and right to peaceful assembly, disrupt access to essential services, and negatively impact the economy. Leveraging the unique platform of the Freedom Online Conference, this action-oriented session will convene speakers from government, civil society, and the private sector to discuss the challenges presented by Internet shutdowns, current progress, and opportunities for further engagement. Through a panel and breakout discussions, this session seeks to bring together diverse stakeholders to strategize for change.