Elections 2024, the risk of internet outages

The Netblocks dashboards are always displayed in these an increase in satellite connections across the Yahclick network, a YahSat Group company, listed in Abu Dhabi and owned by the UAE sovereign wealth fund, Madabala Investment, active in 150 countries. Including Pakistan. The power outage on February 8th is the latest in a series. January 7th and 20th are coming The main social networks are blocked, including Facebook, Instagram and For The target is the opposition leader Imran Khan, cricketer and former prime minister from 2018 to 2022 who was ousted following a vote of no confidence, was jailed and was the target of an assassination attempt. As his party, the PTI (Pakistan Justice Movement), launches a fundraising campaign to support the election campaign, social media in Pakistan is blanked out. Just as he announces his second virtual meeting.

The NGOs’ complaint

Access Now, an American digital rights NGO, has launched several times Internet blocking warnings in Pakistan and called on authorities to restore connections. “A complete blocking of mobile access on election day is unacceptable – said Felicia Anthonio, manager of Access Now connectivity guarantee campaign, Keep it on -. The people of Pakistan need access to the internet to ensure free, fair and inclusive elections. The authorities’ decision to restrict access to information discredits the integrity of Pakistan’s elections“. According to the NGO, black clouds are looming on the horizon. Already in the 2018 elections Internet access was blocked 11 times. And in 2022 and 2023 (on the occasion of Khan’s arrest) there were repeated power outages. The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) attributed the situation to ongoing, unspecified system updates and expected this to continue for the next few years.two or three months“. A prediction that is now “raises further warning signs“.

Since the beginning of the year, the Internet has been switched off in two further cases due to connections to the political and election situation. Let’s start with the archipelago of Comoros, located southeast of the coast of the African continent in the Indian Ocean. In mid-January, the call to vote goes out to the 330,000 people who have registered to vote. as reported BBC, with a total population of 836,000. Of these, only 55,259 people vote for the president, 16% of those eligible to vote. And the polls show renewed confirmation of President Azali Assoumani’s fourth term in office. There is unrest in the capital of the Comoros, Moroni. The The authorities react with curfews, raids and shutting down the internet. On January 18, Netblocks records the telecommunications outage in the African archipelago, which was under French control until the 1970s.

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