IGF 2021 WS #180
Killing the Kill Switch

Organizer 1: Prasanth Sugathan, Software Freedom Law Centre, India
Organizer 2: Radhika Jhalani, Software Freedom Law Center, India (SFLC.in)
Organizer 3: Apurva Singh, Software Freedom Law Centre, India

Speaker 1: Prasanth Sugathan, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 2: Mishi Choudhary, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 3: Kris Ruijgrok, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Apurva Singh, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Online Moderator

Radhika Jhalani, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group


Radhika Jhalani, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group


Birds of a Feather - Auditorium - 30 Min

Policy Question(s)

Barriers to universal and meaningful access: What are the main challenges that people face in obtaining and making full use of Internet access? To what extent are these the result of social, economic and cultural factors, and to what extent do they result from aspects of the digital environment? How can we use the responses to these questions to better understand the intersection between digital policies and other policy areas? Can this understanding help us to develop and implement more realistic Internet-related policy goals?

Internet shutdowns are on the rise like never before. They pose a barrier to the very basics of existence such as medicine, education, and livelihood especially when the COVID-19 pandemic had forced the entire world indoors. Access is a basic human necessity that is threatened


Targets: The Internet has become fundamental for our existence. Cutting of internet from an area makes it unequal for access. access to stable internet without any interference from governments is a basic right that everyone deserves. Internet also helps build sustainable cities and communities.


The session is aimed at taking account of the harms that internet shutdowns have been causing and documenting them to build a discourse around it. Internet shutdowns have been witnessing a never before rise and regions are trying to navigate a territory that hasn’t been ventured into before. Citizens of a region are caught unaware in situations when the internet is disrupted and are not able to understand what to do in such situations. In situations like these it is fundamental to keep a record of the happening around them. Most shutdowns are implemented to suppress dissent by authoritarian regimes which makes it crucial to record the happenings and advocate against the use of such repressive measures. Interestingly the nature and pattern of shutdowns in South Asia is different from those in other regions of the world. World’s longest shutdowns have occurred in regions Kashmir, India; Rakhine State, Myanmar and Balochistan, Pakistan. This makes the process of recording and reporting shutdowns more difficult yet more crucial.
The session will invite experts from around the world to share their collective experiences and responses of shutdowns to come up with a comprehensive action plan to record shutdowns. SFLC.in has been at the forefront to get the voices of people submerged in digital darkness out in the open. This exercise has helped us understand how to report and track conversations that need to see the light of the day and not remain unheard because of the kill switch. The session will aim to share these understandings along with finding commonalities among other regional partners to develop a model which can be used across the region to gather support and organize successful advocacy against internet shutdown

Expected Outcomes

People from Asian and Sub African regions have witnessed internet shutdowns which although may have occurred due to different reasons but cause the same harrowing impact on the citizens. Every shutdown is unique with different impacts on citizens for example, a 10-day long shutdown for national security reasons will have a different impact from a shutdown which is for 2 days long and for elections. Through this session, we would like to discover solutions to the best possible way for recording shutdowns in the country. We would like to see how different countries in the world are

This is a session that aims to collect experiences and have a best practices model in place. The session will see participation from countries that have seen internet shutdowns in the past. It

Online Participation

Usage of IGF Official Tool.