IN THE halcyon days of the Internet, a vision took hold that in a vast global network, no single point could control. Rather, the Internet would flow like water around obstacles. Tim Berners-Lee, a Web pioneer, said that it was originally intended to be a “universal space,” not controlled by a single government or company. President Bill Clinton declared in 2000 that China controlling the Internet in its country would be “like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall.”
Read a report from the Human Rights Council
For Getnet Assefa, the founder and chief executive of Ethiopia’s first artificial intelligence lab iCog, an internet shutdown meant not just hours of wasted productivity. It was also about losing “trust” from clients—spread across Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, and the United States—with whom they are working on projects ranging from machine learning to computational linguistics and robotics. iCog is where Sophia, the humanoid robot that was granted Saudi citizenship in 2017, was partly developed.
In this edition, we look at the surge of shutdowns, the mechanics behind the so-called “internet kill switch”, and what we’re doing as members of Access Now’s #KeepItOn coalition to fight back.