Internet disruptions - India loses $1.3 billion in 2019
Even as the Supreme Court of India held that access to the internet is a fundamental right under Article 19 of the Constitution on January 10, a study by UK-based tech research firm Top10Vpn found that India imposed an internet blackout of close to 4,200 hours in 2019, which cost the country $1.3 billion in economic activity. The report said that India was the third worst-hit economy worldwide after crisis-hit Iraq and Sudan, and with Venezuela coming in fourth. Others on the list Iraq, which led the list on the basis of economic impact at $2.3 billion, imposed 209 hours of internet blackouts and an additional 54 hours of social media shutdowns. Sudan, which came in second, imposed 864 hours of internet blackouts and 696 hours of social media shutdowns, which cost the economy $1.8 billion. Venezuela imposed 60 hours of internet blackouts and 111 hours of social media shutdowns, causing a $1.07 billion damage to its economy. Notably, Iraq and Sudan are war-torn, while Venezuela has faced an extended social, political and economic crisis. In terms of hours of disruption, Africa’s Chad (4,728 hours of shutdown) and Myanmar (4,880 hours) ranked ahead of India with significantly lesser economic impact. The study arrived at the economic cost based on Netblocks’ and The Internet Society’s cost of shutdown tool, which relies on data from The World Bank, International Telecommunication Union, Eurostat, among others.