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Dear Internet users,
Have you heard about the “Internet kill switch”? It gives governments the technical or legal power to cut off their entire country’s Internet access, and it’s no longer just a pipedream of dictators, but a very real threat to all of us who use the Internet around the world.
Egypt used it last week, Austria’s already got it, the U.S. has a law drafted to establish it, while other governments across the globe are testing to see how easily they could plunge their country into an information blackout. And they can do it one of two ways: either by creating the legal authority that gives them the power to demand that the Internet service providers (ISPs) operating in their country shut down, or by configuring a “switch” that controls their country’s entire Internet infrastructure.
Just because we use the Internet everyday, doesn’t mean we always will be able to do so. A global movement of Internet users can help stop our governments (democratic and authoritarian alike) from acquiring an Internet kill switch, but only if we act fast. Add your name to our global “Stop the Switch” petition, which we’ll deliver to those countries considering the switch and globally to the United Nations, which is meeting soon to discuss freedom of speech online:
From Australia to Zimbabwe, we see how vital access to the Internet, both on computers and mobile phones, is for people to freely express themselves. An Internet kill switch puts your ability to communicate with friends and family online in jeopardy by placing control over the Internet firmly into the hands of your government, who may not necessarily have your interests and rights in mind when they flip the switch.
With the U.S. just a few votes away from giving President Obama and any of his successors ultimate control over the country’s Internet access, imagine what is being considered in other countries across the world. We need a global Internet uprising to protect our rights, and we are starting at the top with the United Nations. Please join our call before the Internet kill switch becomes the global norm:
As online communication becomes an increasingly important part of all aspects of our lives, governments have sought to censor, filter, surveil, and now, shut off access to these vital tools. Just imagine if your government decided to switch your Internet — and you — off.
In Egypt, using powers granted to Mubarak under emergency law, the government was able to shut off the Internet with a couple of phone calls to each of the Internet service providers (ISPs) operating in Egypt. Egyptians employed innovative work-arounds to avoid the shutdown like using international dial-up, but do we really want to resort to that? Lets draw a line in the sand as governments around the world race to acquire an “Internet kill switch.”
Governments habitually put their own survival above the wellbeing of their people. The only real deterrent to the Internet kill switch is us — a global movement for digital freedom; please join the international campaign to “Stop the Switch!”
The Access Team
P.S. If you missed our live web symposium last week on The Middle East, The Revolution, & The Internet, you can watch it at: https://www.accessnow.org/policy-activism/press-blog/The-Middle-East-The-Revolution-And-The-Internet
P.P.S. You can also read Access’ open letter to Vodafone’s CEO here: https://www.accessnow.org/policy-activism/press-blog/open-letter-from-access-to-the-ceo-of-vodafone
For more information on the Internet kill switch see: