Science and Tech

Iran, India and Pakistan: the three countries with the most restrictions on internet access in the first half of 2023

July 20 (Portaltic/EP) –

The interruptions of Internet access to citizens continue to increase year after year due to civil unrest situations, so that, in the first half of 2023, Iran, India and Pakistan have been the three countries that more restrictions have suffered in this ambit.

This is how they show it data collected during the first semester of this year for him study by cybersecurity company Surfsharkwhich performs semi-annual analysis of Internet outages based on its own tracker.

In this sense, the study has revealed that in the first half of 2023 there have been 42 new internet outages, that have affected around 2.350 million people. This means that 270 million more people compared to the same period in 2022 (2.080 million people) were deprived of connection.

Following this line, the company has indicated that the 42 new cases of Internet interruptions are added to the forty cases that already existed previously, increasing the total to 82 cases of regions that have suffered Internet outages.

Furthermore, currently 22 of the 196 countries and territories analyzed by the company they are imposing internet restrictions. Most of these cases date back to Asia, with 15 countries that maintain restrictions Internet in progress.

Thus, the 71 percent of new cuts to the Internet have been registered in Asia, which makes Iran, India and Pakistan in the most affected countries during the first six months of this year. In fact, among the 42 new cases, 14 they have been developed in Iran, nine in India and three in Pakistan.

These restrictions have been seen driven mainly by protests that the civilians have been carried out in these countries. “This further highlights the fundamental role that the Internet plays during periods of civil unrest,” they have pointed out from Surfshark.

In fact, as for Internet cuts suffered in Iran, These have been observed in the Zahedan city -capital of the province of Sistan and Balochistan- during the civil protests that took place over the “massacre” occurred in this region, after the death of the young Mahsa Amini, who was in police custody.

On the other hand, Surfshark has also detailed that Pakistan suffered all three restrictions following the arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Kahan and, in the case of India, most of the outages also coincided with civil protests taking place in the country.

Likewise, among the affected countries also stand out Ethiopia or Sudanwith notable restrictions beginning in the first half of 2023 and, in fact, still continuing.

In the case of Ethiopiathe cut occurred on February 10 of this yearin the protests for the division of the Tewahedo Orthodox Church. Specifically, the government restricted Facebook, Telegram, and TikTok, and later extended the ban to YouTube. Sudan, For its part, the Internet was interrupted on April 15 in it armed conflict between rival military factions.

Within this framework, the company has stressed that the protests have been “the main cause of internet restrictions imposed by governments around the world”. So much so that 30 of the new incidents registered were caused by public demonstrations.

“When the Internet is restricted, the people have little chance of disseminating information to the outside worldorganize protests and Medical help for people in need, or contact contact with friends and loved ones,” has nuanced the communications spokesperson surfsharkGabriele Racaityte-Krasauske.


On the other hand, the data from the study have also shown that in the case of the Jammu and Kashmir region (India), in which frequent Internet restrictions are carried out, the new Court cases have dropped “significantly.”

So much so that in the first semester of this year They have only registered two cases compared to 35 who had place in the same period of last year. With this easing of restrictions, Surfshark has reported that a 31 percent global drop in restrictions from Internet.

However, excluding the Jammu and Kashmir region, the registered cases show a 54 percent increase in global restrictions. For all these reasons, Surfshark has warned of the worsening internet access for citizens globally.


The study carried out by this company specialized in cybersecurity solutions also analyzes which are the social networks which are positioned as main goal of governments when restricting Internet access.

In this sense, Facebook highlights as the main objective of “autocratic governments”. The platform has been restricted in the first half of 2023 in Ethiopia, Guinea, Senegal, Pakistan and Suriname. In addition, it should be noted that, since the year 2015, 46 percent of the world population has experienced restrictions on this platform of Goal imposed by the Government.

Following this line, Telegram, Instagram and YouTube share second place on the list of the most blocked social platforms, all of them with restrictions in 4 countries. In the case of whatsapp and twitter each platform It has been blocked in three countries.

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