World’s worst Internet clampdown cost Myanmar US$3bil in 2021

A file photo of a man using a mobile phone while walking in Yangon. Myanmar topped 21 countries that disrupted the Internet for a total 30,179 hours last year. — AFP

Internet outages by Myanmar’s military junta to curb nationwide protests over a coup in 2021 cost the country US$2.8bil (RM11.73bil), the biggest losses in the world, according to a study.

The South-East Asian nation topped 21 countries that disrupted the Internet for a total 30,179 hours last year, leading to global losses of US$5.5bil (RM23.05bil) – up 36% from 2020. Nigeria and India followed Myanmar, a report from UK-based digital privacy and security research group Top10VPN showed Tuesday.

Nigeria lost US$1.5bil (RM6.28bil) in 2021 and India, the world’s biggest democracy that had topped the list in 2020, lost US$583mil (RM2.44bil). Governments controlled the flow of information by total internet blackouts and social media blocks, or by throttling speeds to levels where anything beyond simple text-based communication becomes impossible.

Twitter was the most blocked social media platform with a total 12,379 hours of outages, followed by Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and YouTube, according to the report.

Based on tools developed by Netblocks and advocacy groups The Internet Society and The Collaboration on International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa, the report calculates losses using indicators from the World Bank, The International Telecommunication Union, Eurostat and the U.S. Census. – Bloomberg

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