How do Internet Shutdowns work?

India faced 95 Internet shutdowns till now in this year. This is the highest number of times for any democratic country affecting 167 areas.

The government shuts down the Internet in specific areas because it is the fastest medium to communicate.

It is because of those people who keep on forwarding rumors without verifying the news. It fuels aggression and might worsen the conditions.

I have also written a dedicated post about identifying the fake news. In case you missed it, here is the link:

But how does an Internet Blackout takes place?

If you are currently reading this piece of content then it definitely means that you love to learn how stuff works!

You deserve the answer!

Internet Shutdown Working

As per the Indian Telegraph Act 1885, the Indian Government has privileges to control all forms of communications within Indian territory.

There are various ways to control your online activities.

For instance, the Government banned porn websites in India and that includes partial banning.

Sometimes, they ban the entire Internet. We saw these incidences in Kashmir and Assam recently.

So, it completely depends upon how you are being tapped.

1] DNS Filtering

Domain Name System (DNS) Filtering takes place when the Government blacks out some specific webpages.

Not clear? Not an issue. I’ll be explaining what I mean there.

Every website or app or any web page has a specific IP Address on the Internet.

IP Address acts like our physical address.

Computers don’t understand what you type on your Internet browser. They understand the language of numbers.

So, whenever you type some website name like www.google.com, the computer understands it by an IP Address like 64.233.160.0

Yes, that’s how computers work!

For us, it is Google dot com but for computers, it is a long segment of numbers.

Similarly, every website has a specific and unique IP Address.

The Government simply asks the Internet Service Providers to block these IP Addresses. Simple 🙂

Internet Shutdowns using DNS Filtering

In such situations, Govt bans services like Whatsapp and Facebook to curb the heat.

Likewise, your favorite porn websites are banned in a similar way.

That helped Indian youth to learn the usage of VPN services, that’s another ballgame altogether *wink wink* 😉

(And there the Digital Evolution started among the common Indian youth!)

2] Complete Internet Shutdowns

The Government gives a notice period to the magistrates of local areas to block the Internet connection of those particular areas.

Within that period, magistrates forward this notice to the nodal officers of all the Telecomm operators and Internet service providers.

Hence, the system Engineers cut down the flow of Internet data packets in those particular areas.

For those who don’t know, the Internet data is carried in the form of data packets.

Whatever you download or view on the Internet, your device will never receive all of it in a single go!

It will come in small parts. Hence, these parts are your data packets.

Data Packets

If these data packets fail to travel, your Internet stops working.

So, this is how Governments run their Internet shutdown campaigns.

I hope that the Government keeps these Internet shutdowns to the minimum numbers because many important things depend on it.

Although there are some Govt data centers where they give Internet access to the students and people who need connectivity for urgent tasks.

Also, Govt journalists and military people get their special Internet connecting devices.

It’s just that the common people don’t get access to the Internet.

Let me know if you can imagine your life without the Internet on today’s date. If yes, how will you spend your time?

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Read More: 8 Ways to Detect Fake Websites

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