Just as it sounds, Access Now defines an Internet Shutdown this way:
An internet shutdown happens when someone — usually a government — intentionally disrupts the internet or mobile apps to control what people say or do. Shutdowns are also sometimes called “blackouts” or “kill switches”.
Here’s a more technical definition developed by experts: “An internet shutdown is an intentional disruption of internet or electronic communications, rendering them inaccessible or effectively unusable, for a specific population or within a location, often to exert control over the flow of information.”
This is what is going in Togo right now for the past few days, and Quartz reports:
Togo is the latest African nation to shut down access to the internet after protests against president Faure Gnassingbé were scheduled to take place this week.
Internet users and demonstrators in the West African country have reported access to the internet had slowed down or been blocked by the government. This was confirmed by Koffi Inoussa Ayibo, president of the Togolese branch of Internet Without Borders, who said the NGO found internet connectivity had been cut off on WhatsApp, Facebook, and, later, all mobile internet services after conducing a series of tests.
Is this legal?
Not so much as it is violating people’s freedom of expression rights online. If someone does not like something, let them speak on it. Access Now is encouraging people globally to take action and participate in their campaign,
The #KeepItOn hashtag has had much support, as you can see from these few tweets:
— Sandi Chimpala (@sandichimpala) September 8, 2017
Shutting Internet services is a clear indication of the paranoia of the government and their disdain for citizens' rights.#KeepItOn
— Paradigm Initiative (@ParadigmHQ) September 7, 2017
— Nnenna (@nnenna) September 8, 2017
— IFLA (@IFLA) August 22, 2017
— Brittany Piovesan (@B_Piovesan) August 18, 2017
Over 2016 and 2017 so far a total of 71 internet shutdowns have taken place globally:
Access Now explains in a video what happens when an Internet Shutdown is effected: