Week in Review: August 10, 2017

by Jeanette Si

India Blocks Wayback Machine Without Explanation

The Indian government has blocked the Wayback Machine, a U.S.-based website that collects archived versions of an array of different websites. Through the Wayback Machine, users can look at any of its archived websites as it appeared on any date in the past.

This feature has served two purposes beneficial to Indian citizens -- it has allowed them to access websites blocked by the Indian government, and it has also helped them “kee[p] a record of the promises made by politicians and organizations.”

Users who have tried to access the Wayback Machine in the past week are instead taken to the Indian government’s blockpage, which states that this website has been blocked under orders from India’s Department of Telecommunications.

Currently, only the HTTP version of the site appears to be blocked; the HTTPS version of the site is still accessible. The government has not provided any explanation for this block, but India Today speculates that this is because the Wayback Machine “allows Internet users to catch lies” that the government may be telling.

Find more of India's Internet stats here

Rwanda and Kenya Maintain Internet Connections Through Elections

Many African countries have had histories of Internet blockages during election periods, but Rwanda and Kenya may be setting a new precedent by keeping the Internet up.

Rwanda, which just had elections last Friday, did not restrict Internet access during the voting period. Kenya, which voted on August 8, is also keeping Internet connections open. Kenya’s communications authorities assured that they will not block the Internet “after an appeal by the electoral commission that warned against the action because it will need the internet to transmit election results.”

However, an open Internet also poses challenges for an elections cycle. Africa News reports that there has been an influx of fake news posted about the Kenyan election in the past week, especially on social media networks.

Get more of Rwanda and Kenya's Internet stats with their dashboards. 

Vietnam Preparing to Launch Online Censorship System

Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communications recently approved a project to develop “software that identifies, blocks, collects and processes misleading information on the Internet.” This is a part of a bigger governmental initiative to decrease cybercrime by 2030.

Through this software, the government will be able to narrow in on sites that it deems to present “misinformation” and block them from users. Another software will be developed to track and analyze how cybercriminals operate on the web so that it will be easier to recognize and apprehend cybercrime.

The ministry will develop its own communications plans targeting the general public to raise awareness about cybercrime and teach people to “filter out inappropriate information online.”

Internally, the ministry will also tighten up its existing Internet policy to address more specific cases of cybercrime and online information management. It will also provide “preferential policies that encourage the development of online services by Vietnamese information technology enterprises.” 

48% of Vietnam is online. See the bigger picture here