Government-imposed internet blackouts cost the global economy $8 billion in 2019, and 2020 could be even worse
- A new report on global internet shutdowns found there were 122 major shutdowns in 2019, and in total, they cost the world economy roughly $8 billion
- Internet shutdowns are frequently used to clamp down on civil unrest, particularly during protests and national elections
- The countries hardest hit by the economic cost of internet shutdowns in 2019 were Iraq, Sudan, India, and Venezuela
- One of the report’s authors told Business Insider there is good reason to think the number of shutdowns will continue to rise in 2020.
Internet shutdowns are frequently used to clamp down on civil unrest, particularly during protests and national elections. This added up to a total of 18,225 hours and included social media shutdowns as well as complete internet blackouts. Using the Cost of Shutdown Tool developed by NGOs NetBlocks and The Internet Society, Top 10 VPN calculated that internet shutdowns cost the global economy $8.05 billion in 2019.
Four countries lost over $1 billion to shutdowns
- Iraq imposed 263 hours of internet shutdowns and suffered $2.3 billion in losses.
- Sudan imposed 1,560 hours of internet shutdowns and suffered $1.9 billion in losses.
- India imposed 4,196 hours of internet shutdowns in specific regions around the country and suffered $1.3 billion in losses.
- Venezuela imposed 171 hours of internet shutdowns and suffered $1.1 billion in losses.
— Apoorv gupta 🚀 (@iamapoorvgupta) January 17, 2020
In 2019 India also imposed the longest-ever internet shutdown of any democracy. Often governments cite public safety as a reason for shutting off the internet or curbing the spread of misinformation.