Cameroon: Access Now & local civil society urge telecommunications companies to restore internet access

Following government-ordered internet shutdowns targeting Anglophone regions of the country, Access Now and local NGOs urged telecommunications companies to restore internet access. We invited Orange, MTN and Nexttel/Viettel to respond. Orange's response is below; we will indicate here whether MTN and Nexttel/Viettel respond. The story also includes statements by GNI, a company-membership organization.

 

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Article
27 October 2016

New Report Reveals the Economic Costs of Internet Shutdowns

Author: Global Network Initiative

The Global Network Initiative today launched a new report: “The Economic Impact of Disruptions to Internet Connectivity,” which highlights the significant economic damage caused when governments around the world deliberately shut down or disrupt Internet services. The report, which was prepared by Deloitte and made possible by funding from GNI member Facebook, lays out a framework for measuring the costs of shutdowns in terms of the daily gross domestic product lost in countries with varying levels of Internet connectivity. Based on this approach, the report estimates that an average high-connectivity country stands to lose at least 1.9% of its daily GDP for each day all Internet services are shut down. For an average medium-level connectivity country, the loss is estimated at 1% of daily GDP, and for an average low-connectivity country, the loss is estimated at 0.4% of daily GDP. “Governments should recognize the serious consequences of disrupting network access and see shutdowns through a human rights and development lens, not solely through a political or security lens,” said GNI Independent Board Chair Mark Stephens, CBE...“Shutting down the Internet undermines economic activity and chills free expression,“ said GNI Executive Director Judith Lichtenberg. “The economic and human rights harms of network shutdowns reinforce each other, and are of particular concern in developing countries, emerging and fragile democracies, and jurisdictions with weak rule of law.”

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Item
12 July 2016

Global Network Initiative and Telecommunications Industry Dialogue Joint Statement on Network and Service Shutdowns

Author: Global Network Initiative

The Global Network Initiative and the Telecommunications Industry Dialogue are deeply concerned by the increasing number of government orders to shut down or restrict access to communication networks and related services around the world. Government-mandated disruptions of communications networks, network services (such as SMS), or internet services (such as social media, search engines, or news sites) can undermine security and public safety, threaten free expression, restrict access to vital emergency, payment and health services, and disrupt contact with family members and friends. In some countries, the orders frequently occur at politically sensitive moments, during unrest or in the lead-up to elections, restricting the free flow of information. Disruptions also negatively affect a broad range of economic activity, preventing financial transactions, stalling e-commerce and undermining business operations. Even temporary disruptions may complicate the provision of medical care and education, which increasingly rely on the sharing of digital information. “Government-ordered disruptions of communications networks and services are on the rise. The consequences of such orders can be as dire as the security threats they ostensibly target," said Mark Stephens, CBE, Independent Chair of the GNI Board. "They cut off citizens from essential information and contact with loved ones, impede the work of emergency and security services, and undermine economic activity,” he said.

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