India is home to more residents than ay country on planet Earth outside of the nearby People’s Republic of China. Right now, statistics say, India is home to roughly 1.32 billion people. Although the country is home to a substantial amount of human resources, India is full of slums, underdeveloped economies, weak infrastructures, and problems as rancid as much of the public defecating on sidewalks, in streets, and wherever else they can.
In the past six years, says the Software Freedom Law Center using data that it has picked up over the previous half-decade or longer via a mobile tracking device, India has experienced upwards of 300 Internet shutdowns.
Experts believe that the true number of Internet shutdowns is almost certainly higher than 300 over the past six years, as the 300-plus shutdowns that are mentioned above are simply those that have been reported.
Unfortunately for the country, India is now officially home to more major Internet breakdowns than any other country on planet Earth. India’s World Wide Web access is officially even worse than the likes of Africa’s the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Middle East’s Pakistan, Syria, and Iraq.
You may or may not be familiar with the idea of digital authoritarianism. Although we Americans are fortunate to not live in an authoritarian regime, many people across the planet do, in fact, live in such repressive nations.
Take Russia, for example. Last month, Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, signed the legislation into law that was claimed to have been instituted to protect Russians against fake news, though what will actually happen is that Russian citizens will largely be able to share ideas as freely as they have been in the past. This is an example of digital authoritarianism, or at least an act that a true digital authoritarian government would support.
Internet shutdowns, which are almost always kicked into being by governments as a means of controlling what their citizens have to share with the world, are only considered to be as such when the Internet connection is purposefully taken down to control people’s speech and actions.
These shutdowns are a major flex of authoritarian power.
One reason that the Indian government may not be fond of the idea that all of its citizens should be able to use the Internet whenever and however they want is that officials are worried major changes could happen as they learn things that people from around the world have to say.