The world rejoiced over the adoption of the UN Human Rights Council resolution that promotes and protects the freedom of users online in 2016, however, there have been several infringements since then. In fact, in Africa, the same 2016 was the year of internet shutdowns on the continent, as a minimum of eleven governments interfered with the internet during elections or protests.
3 years ago, the threat of internet blackouts was still consistent and that has become the norm since then. The Senior Global Advocacy Manager with Access Now, Deji Olukotun even had this to say recently, “The increasing sophistication of internet shutdowns to target smaller groups of people and locations is alarming. Besides, there has been the deployment of technologies that do not truly provide new users with access to the full, open internet.”
The sad reality is that some governments all over the world keep ordering telecom companies to block specific sites or totally shut down the telephone and internet network when the voice of the people becomes too worrisome against their administrations. However, not to worry, the next time you are faced with such, there are ways to still remain connected in such an environment. See How To Keep Using The Internet If It Is Shut Down In Your Country:
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How Can I Keep Using The Internet If It Is Shut Down In My Country?
1. Know Which Circumvention Tools Or Proxies To Use:
Luckily for you, there are several circumvention tools that will help you avoid censorship and access the internet anonymously. Psiphon is one of the solutions, it is an open-source web proxy that assists users to cope with content-filtering systems. Tor is also a good option as it mainly prevents anyone from tracking your location or spying on your browsing history. It is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android too. To make things easier for you, applications like Orbot are also available to help citizens browse the internet anonymously, send messages, and encrypt their internet traffic.
2. Make Sure Your VPN Is Safe:
Several people use Virtual Private Networks (VPN) nowadays to get secure access to a remote computer over the internet. For example, VPNs made up the top twelve applications downloaded during Uganda’s polls years back, in February. VPNs actually differ from region to region, and it is key to know the safety and security of every specific network before use. One Privacy Site is a brilliant source that compares different virtual networks. You can also download a VPN app or software on your device. Some of the options available on app stores include TunnelBear (paid) and Turbo VPN (Free). In the event of a partial shutdown, they will be handy but note that they drain the battery quite quickly.
3. Remember To Always Protect Yourself:
Trying to fight a national internet shutdown and remain online is not easy, but it all begins with the simple stuff. For example, you need to make sure the websites you are using are delivered over HTTPS. This lets you access the original website and not a fake version of it. For instance, Quartz recently switched to HTTPS to ensure things remain safe for its readers. The HTTPS Everywhere extension can also be installed in your browser to be on the safe side.
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4. Seek Help From The Experts:
For journalists and writers who pen down and report sensitive information for a living, it is vital to know where to find help before the reality of an official internet shutdown sets in. For instance, some journos run a 24-Hour Digital Security Helpline, which helps to advise users during serious emergencies. Their Digital Security Booklet will break down what they are all about.
5. Use Third Party
Give a trusted person who is out of the country your social media login details and ask that if they don’t hear from you in a few days then they should tweet a message. Example “The internet in Canada has been shut down by the government”
6. Download Firechat
this app allows communication over Bluetooth. It however only works if many people download and use the app in the same vicinity. Once a critical amount of people have the app, everyone essentially becomes a cell tower and thus can communicate without a cell network.
7. Download Lantern
Lantern is a P2P network to get people in uncensored areas to share their internet with you.
That is that.