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[liberationtech] Examples of Communication Blackout in Conflict Zones on Independence Day

Peter Micek peter at
Tue Aug 14 11:11:09 PDT 2012

Hi Sana,

I just want to second Eryn's comments. This type of government-ordered "just-in-time" blocking or throttling takes place constantly, often during crucial periods such as elections. 

In the past couple of weeks, it has occurred in Syria, before the military attacks cities or towns:; 
and in Tajikistan: Starting July 25, telecoms complied with Tajikistan gov't requests to shutdown communications networks and block websites, including the BBC and Russian news sites. The GNI issued a comment on Aug 1, saying telecoms should be transparent with their actions and direct in-country staff to adhere to human rights frameworks. TeliaSonera said the situation is continuing to affect their customers, and made comment on its blog.

Tajik links:
TS statement

Russian and other sites blocked

GNI statement

For these reasons, Access has created the Telco Action Plan to assist telecoms to better manage and remedy their human rights impacts. Find it here:


Policy Counsel | Access
Ph: +1-646-255-4963
S: peter-r-m
PGP: 22510994

On Aug 14, 2012, at 12:04 PM, Eryn Schornick wrote:

> Hi Sana,
> Thank you for this information.
> The Conflict Risk Network submitted a comment that discusses instances and some of the risks you raise below associated with companies complying with government orders (generally as per their contractual agreements) to shut down networks and communication systems in times of conflict or unrest. Conflict Risk Network’s submission was in response to a discussion paper created through an initiative that is being led by the Institute for Business and Human Rights and Shift. They are developing guidance for implementing the General Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the UN “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework for the European Commission in the ICT sector.
> You can learn more about their process and background on the project here:; and view other submissions here:
> If you have any further questions please do let me know.
> Best of luck,
> Eryn
> Eryn Schornick
> Research & Engagement Specialist
> Conflict Risk Network
> a project of United to END GENOCIDE
> 1025 Connecticut Ave., N.W., Suite 310
> Washington, D.C. 20036
> eschornick at
> p: (202) 617 - 7551
> f:  (202) 476 - 0001
> From: liberationtech-bounces at [mailto:liberationtech-bounces at] On Behalf Of Sana Saleem
> Sent: Tuesday, August 14, 2012 5:05 AM
> To: liberationtech at
> Subject: [liberationtech] Examples of Communication Blackout in ConflictZones on Independence Day
> Hi, 
> Pakistan's Government blocked access to cellphones in parts of Baluchistan today. We have issues a press release (Baluchistan: Access Should Not Be A Victim To National Security), and speaking to government reps, We are working on a post as a part of a campaign since this is has been a yearly ritual. Was wondering if you guys know of any other examples of states doing the same? 
> Access Denied for National Security: The authorities have taken similar steps in other areas across Pakistan, where cellphone services have been blocked, I understand that it is a practice governments use during riots however in Pakistan these have been routinely deployed across provinces/cities (Gilgit:Access Should Not Be A Victim To National Security)
> Context: Baluchistan, one of the largest provinces in Pakistan, has serious law and order issues due to separatist movements as a result of years of state neglect. Naturally, such measures especially on independence day will only provoke resentment and show state discrimination. Are there other examples of state's using such counterproductive policies? Would be helpful. 
> Best, 
> Sana 
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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