Week in Review: July 27, 2018

by Mary Meisenzahl

Internet service partially suspended in Pakistan during election

On July 20, Geo News reported that Internet service in several districts of Balochistan, one of Pakistan’s provinces, was suspended until July 31. Internet shutdowns are common in Pakistan. According to Access Now’s Shutdown Tracker Optimization Project (STOP), there have been 19 Internet shutdowns in Pakistan over the past 2 years. However, earlier this year the High Court of Islamabad ruled that it was illegal to order shutdowns for “national security” reasons. In anticipation of the July 25 election, Bolo Bhi, Digital Rights Foundation, and Netblocks collaborated to monitor any other shutdowns that might occur.

Nicaragua experiences Internet shutdowns during protests

Netblocks detected regional Internet outages across Nicaragua last week. Protests have been ongoing since April, when the government announced plans to cut welfare benefits. Over 350 people have been killed since the protests started, and members of the press have received death threats.

Blogspot blocked in Turkey

On July 24, Turkey Blocks confirmed that Blogspot blogging service, owned by Google, was blocked in Turkey. Blogspot is one of the largest hosts of personal websites on the Internet. Turkey Blocks concluded that the block was likely ordered by the government because it was consistent across ISPs. In an update on July 25, Turkey Blocks said that the ban appeared to be lifted due to massive community response, but they will continue to monitor the situation.

Google Chrome marks unencrypted websites as “not secure”

Beginning July 24, Google Chrome now designates all unencrypted websites as “not secure” in the address bar. Google first announced plans for this change in 2016. Initially, websites that asked for passwords or credit card information with an HTTP connection were labeled “not secure.” Today, all websites without an HTTPS connection will receive that marker. In a blog post commemorating the change, Chrome Security Product Manager Emily Schechter called the move “a milestone for Chrome security.”