Out of a global total of $2.4 billion, says report.
BillionsÂ of dollarsâ€™ worth of economic activities take place on the internet every day. In the US alone, the internet contributes about 6 percent to the economy every year. But the indiscriminate intervention of governments in disrupting internet service has cost countries $2.4 billion last year, said a report released by Brookings Institution.
The study conducted by Darrel M. West sheds light on the extent of economic loss suffered by countries as a result of shutting the internet and related services.
A number of countries have blocked particular applications, shut down specific digital services, turned off mobile telecommunications services, or disrupted the entire internet on account of several reasons such as safeguarding government authority, reducing public dissidence, fighting terrorism, maintaining national security, or protecting local businesses.
The actions of governments have widespread impacts as it separates people from their family, friends, and livelihoods, undermines economic growth, interfere with the startup ecosystem, and threaten social stability.
But, the major impact of internet shutdowns is on the economy. After analyzing 81 short-term shutdowns in 19 countries over the past year, West found that the countries have lost at least $2.4 billion in GDP.
According to the study, India is the highest loser at $968 million followed by $465 million in Saudi Arabia, $320 million in Morocco, $209 million in Iraq, $72 million in the Republic of the Congo, $69 million in Pakistan, $48 million in Syria, and $35 million in Turkey, among other places.
â€œThese are conservative estimates that consider only reductions in economic activity and do not account for tax losses or drops in investor, business, and consumer confidence,â€ said the report.
The tendency of governments to disrupt the internet is showing a rising movement with the expansion of digital technology. The disruptions identified by West include 22 in India, Iraq (22), non-ISIS controlled parts of Syria (8), Pakistan (6), Turkey (3), and 2 each in Bangladesh, Brazil, North Korea, the Republic of the Congo, Uganda, and Vietnam, among other places.
â€œAs the digital economy expands, it will become even more expensive for nations to shut down the internet. Without coordinated action by the international community, this damage is likely to accelerate in the future and further weaken global economic development,â€ said West.
West has classified disruptions into national internet, sub-national internet, national mobile internet, sub-national mobile internet, national app/service, and sub-national app/service (including VoIP). Overall, these disruptions lasted 753 days in total across all countries during the period.