Week in Review: August 10, 2018

by Mary Meisenzahl

Internet shutdown in Bangladesh during protests

Government authorities shut down mobile Internet beginning on Sunday, August 5 during student protests in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Students were protesting the transportation sector and the two students who were killed by a bus in late July. Protests have partially shut down traffic in the city as of Sunday. According to NetBlocks, dozens of students were injured as witnesses said police used rubber bullets and tear gas against demonstrators, which police deny. The Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission confirmed that the government had ordered the mobile Internet shutdown, while wifi and wired networks continue to function.

Ethiopia blocks Internet in eastern region of country

With growing unrest in the Somali Eastern region of Ethiopia, the government has ordered shutdowns of mobile and broadband Internet. This order came after the Ethiopian military "seized control of key highways, government buildings, and the airport in Jijiga," the capital city of the region, according to the U.S. embassy. An unknown number of civilians were killed, and thousands are displaced. Ethiopia has a history of Internet shutdowns, including around school exams, but has also made moves toward a more open Internet when earlier this year the government unblocked over 250 websites.

China blocks BBC website

BBC web services are blocked in China after switching from HTTP to HTTPS connections. HTTPS is considered a more secure connection, and with an HTTPS connection censors cannot block only specific web pages of a website. Since BBC made the switch, China cannot block only specific articles and had to either allow access to all BBC pages, or block the website entirely. BBC’s principal software engineer James Donohue explained the reasoning for using HTTPS, saying it “gives users of the site confidence that what they read and watch was published by the BBC and is private to them.” In a statement, BBC recommended users in China access the website through VPNs or Psiphon.