23 Lantana Road, Nairobi, Kenya.

Key Findings

  • Social media and instant messaging apps were slowed down (throttled) when vote counting was underway.
  • Although the process and legal context in which the restrictions were implemented has not been revealed, the steps were taken under the pretext to prevent violence and curb the spread of hate speech in the Anglophone regions.
  • The disruption is difficult to attribute, as it did not meet thresholds for detection in some of the network tests. Further, it was applied juste à temps (just in time) and in ways that assured plausible deniability.
  • However, when all factors including the available technical data are considered, it would appear the government informally requested ISPs to slow down the internet.
  • As a censorship measure, throttling is more sophisticated in execution but less dramatic in scope and potential consequences. It is also less detectable by outside parties and offers more flexibility for communication among government and security actors, as vital communication links remain open.
  • An authoritarian government that views elections as a vehicle they can manipulate to ensure their prolonged rule.
  • The state ownership of the ISP CamTel which runs crucial parts of the national fibre backbone on which other providers rely to service their subscribers which had an indirect but unquantifiable bearing.
  • A combination of an authoritarian government (condition 1) in combination with a specific ISP ownership structure (condition 2) led to a “hostile attitude” and measures restricting internet access.
  • Government’s attempts to repress the Anglophones regions’ political right to self-determination.
  • However, the Cameroonian government’s attitude towards the internet in the past should not be viewed as static but as a complex and continuously evolving manifestation of social forces of a particular time and place.

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Post Author: Global South

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