India lost $968 million due to max 22 internet shutdowns

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As many as 22 internet shutdowns occurred in India between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016, costing the country a total of US$968 million, contributing to a total global cost of US$2.4 billion due to internet blackouts, findings by Brookings reveal.

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India and Iraq jointly captured the top spot for observing maximum internet shutdowns. The non-ISIS controlled parts of Syria stood at third spot with 8 shutdowns, followed by 6 in Pakistan, 3 in Turkey, and 2 each in Bangladesh, Brazil, North Korea, Uganda and Vietnam.

In Economic costs term, India stood at the top, followed by Saudi Arabia with $465 million loss, Morocco with $320 million loss, Iraq with $209.5 and Brazil with $116 million loss.

India this year joined the ranks of countries, including Uganda, Algeria, and Iraq, that have disrupted internet services in response to concerns over students cheating on exams

An Indian official said, “Considering the sensitive nature of the exam for recruitment of talents, internet service providers have been asked to shut down all internet-based social media services from 9 am to 1 pm to prevent the misuse of mobiles during the exam.”

In many other instances, regional Indian officials also ordered disruptions in response to public security concerns. “State interference with internet services is becoming more common, even in democratic states,” the study said.

According to the study, it will only become more expensive for nations to shut down the internet as the digital economy expands. And without coordinated action by the international community, this damage is likely to accelerate in the future and further weaken global economic development.

“As long as political authorities continue to disrupt internet activity, it will be difficult for impacted nations to reap the full benefits of the digital economy,” Brookings Vice President Darrell West, author of the study, said.

West examined a total 81 short-term shutdowns that occurred in 19 countries between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016.

The finding attributed Internet close downs to regional or territorial response to public security concerns, in addition to a precautionary measure to prevent the misuse of Internet-based social media services via mobile devices during competitive examinations in the country.

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