Tuesday, December 11, 2012

MAP: The 61 countries most vulnerable to an Internet shutdown

Last week Syria's government shut down access to the Internet, presumably to prevent new reports of its war crimes from leaking to the outside world.

Which begs the question: which countries are most susceptible to a government-mandate shutdown of the Internet?

For 52 hours last week, Syria joined the unfortunate club of countries whose governments have chosen, however briefly, to return their citizens to the digital dark ages. That club, which also includes Egypt and Myanmar, remains small for now. But if you live in any of these five dozen countries, it could happen to you, too.

In the wake of Syria’s digital blackout last week, the networking firm Renesys performed an analysis of which countries are most susceptible to an Internet shutdown, based simply on how many distinct entities control the connections between the country’s networks and those of the outside world. It found that for 61 countries and territories, just one or two Internet service providers maintain all external connections–a situation that could make possible a quick cutoff from the world with a well-placed government order or physical attack.

On Monday, Renesys published its full list of countries and territories at various levels of Internet shutdown risk. And here are the places it put in the “severe risk” category.

Andorra, Anguilla, Netherland Antilles, Aruba, Åland Islands, Barbados, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, Bhutan, Central African Republic, Cote D’Ivoire, Cook Islands, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominica, Ethiopia, Faroe Islands, Grenada, French Guiana, Greenland, Gambia, Guinea, Guadeloupe, Guyana, British Indian Ocean Territory, Jersey, Comoros, Saint Kitts And Nevis, North Korea, Lesotho, Libya, Monaco, Saint Martin (French and Dutch parts), Marshall Islands, Mali, Myanmar, Mauritania, Norfolk Island, Nauru, French Polynesia, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Palau, Réunion, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Suriname, South Sudan, Sao Tome and Principe, Syria, Swaziland, Turks and Caicos, Chad, Tokelau, Timor-Leste, Turkmenistan, Tunisia, Tonga, Uzbekistan, Vatican City, Wallis and Futuna, and Yemen.

Just give President Obama a little time. With a little effort, he'll be able to get us on this list.

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