The government-ordered internet shutdowns have incurred more than $10 billion loss to the global economy in 2022. The government-backed internet shutdowns disrupt the flow of information or communications to the public, which can be due to censoring online protestors, tackling misinformation, and many more.
Internet shutdowns cost over $27 billion since 2019
According to a new report from Top10VPN, there have already been major internet shutdowns in 2022 so far as compared to the previous year, hence, the economic fallout has been near twice as severe. Fifty-four internet shutdowns across 16 countries cost $10.16 billion in 2022 to date, as compared to the 50 major shutdowns costing $5.45 billion in the previous year, the report mentioned. The report mentioned that the government internet outages typically take the form of total internet blackouts or social media blocks. The other censorship tactic being used is internet throttling, where internet speeds are restricted so severely that anything beyond simple text-based communication becomes impossible, such as live-streaming videos of protests or human rights abuses.
The report tracked three types of disruptions in their assessment — internet blackouts, social media shutdowns, and severe throttling, where speeds have been reduced to 2G, which permits the use of SMS and voice calls only. The report states; “This damage is both direct, in terms of the economic and human cost, and indirect, in that it forces people to use unsafe VPNs to try to circumvent the restrictions imposed upon them.”
VPN demand surges in Russia
As the Russian authorities banned Instagram, the demand for VPN services peaked at 2,692% on March 14 compared to the average daily demand in the week leading up to the invasion of Ukraine. The demand for VPN services peaked at 2,692% on March 14 compared to the average daily demand in the week leading up to the invasion of Ukraine, prompting Russians to turn in increasing numbers to VPN services. The VPN demand increased over the course of that week and by March 3 it was over 750% higher than the baseline.