Internet shutdown in Togo

September 10, 2017
internet-shutdown internet-governance censorship africa

On the 7th September 2017 the President of the Internet Society Chapter of Togo called out the internet community alerting an internet shutdown in Togo.

In his statement, Norbert K. Glakpe, said that social media was fluctuating since the day before, i.e 6th September 2017 but then there was a total internet blackout since the morning of 7th September. Mobile internet service was unavailable from two different operators. Fixed line broadband was functioning for only one operator while the major Internet Service Provider blocked its broadband service.

A communiqué1 was issued through ISOC Africa.

This incident of internet shutdown isn’t spoken about in Mauritius, like perhaps the rest of internet shutdowns that have occurred in the African region.

At the moment of writing this blog post an internet blackout continues in Togo.

Anti-shutdown policy proposal

Since May 2017 an Anti-shutdown policy proposal2 has been under discussion within the AFRINIC community. Views are heavily divided on this matter. Andrew Alston, co-author of the policy draft, defended his views during a presentation3 at RIPE 74.

Vint Cerf, internet pioneer recognized as one of the fathers of the internet, commented4 the following:

politicizing IP address allocation is a mistake and could have enormous, negative consequences including a wide range of fragmentation and legal intimidation of the RIRs. Advocacy is fine but withholding IP addresses for political reasons is not wise.

Meanwhile, internet shutdowns continue to occur in Africa and there does not seem to be any way to stop it.

Update - 11 September 2017

According to emails5 sent to the Global Access to the Internet for All (GAIA) mailing list of the Internet Research Task Force (IRTF), internet access has resumed since the afternoon of 10 September 2017.

  1. Today our Internet Society chapter in Togo issued a statement (in French) calling on the government of Togo to restore Internet access. Reports in the media and from our own members there indicate that that the government has shut down Internet access in the wake of protests after their recent election. The president of our ISOC Togo Chapter alerted us today that the shutdown has now even extended to SMS text messages. (Read more) [return]
  2. [Summary of Anti-shutdown policy proposal] Over the last few years we have seen more and more governments shutting down the free and open access to the internet in order to push political and other agendas. These shutdowns have been shown to cause economic damage and hurt the citizens of the affected countries. Furthermore – we believe that the Internet is a human right – and the shutting down of the Internet may well impinge on aspects of Articles 12, 19 and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human rights as proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on the 10th of December 1948. (Read more) [return]
  3. Andrew Alston - Anti-Shutdown Policies - The Rationale video/pdf [return]
  4. Re: [gaia] Blog on AFRINIC proposal [return]
  5. Re: [gaia] [AFRI-Discuss] Internet Society Togo’s Communiqué on the Internet Shut Down in TOGO [return]

Anti-shutdown policy proposal

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