These Countries Have an INTERNET KILL SWITCH (and They Admit It)

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By the author of The Faithful Prepper and Zombie Choices

What do you suppose would happen if the President of the United States deemed it necessary, for “national security,” to flip the Internet Kill Switch? In these digital times, there should be great concern over something like this. However, normalcy bias seems to have a firm hold on a majority of the citizens of the US, and many are clinging to the “it can’t happen here” theory.  

The United States has yet to employ this particular tool. However, according to data gathered to examine the financial impact of internet shutdowns, since 2019, there have been 237 major internet shutdowns in 45 countries. [source]

What is an internet kill switch?

An internet kill switch is a device/software/configuration that allows one to shut down all internet access within a region or country indefinitely. If activated, the kill switch would prevent everyone from checking social media, shopping online, using online messenger services, sending emails, or anything else involving an internet connection.

In many cases, this may also include any form of phone contact (it varies). 

Which countries have already used the internet kill switch?

Hackers have the ability to down the entire internet system, as we have seen with op article and op article. However, governments around the globe have also resorted to shutdowns, claiming it to be necessary for public safety. For example, India (a democratic nation) was the global leader in shutdowns in 2019, with over 150 in 3 years. [source]

See if you spot the recurring theme among the following shutdowns:

Cuba

On July 11, Cuban citizens rallied in the streets to protest food and medicine shortages and electricity outages. Within two days, the Cuban government began restricting internet access. 

China

Back in 2009, riots broke out in Xinjiang. The communists responded by shutting down the internet to the region for an entire year. [source]

Egypt

Amid protests, Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak cut off nearly all internet access and shut down all cell phone services. The shutdown lasted for five days. [source]

Iran

November 16, 2019, Iran authorities flipped the switch, plunging citizens into digital darkness for nearly 11 days. According to an Amnesty International press release, the deliberate shutdown was an attempt to hide the horrendous killings across the country.

Zimbabwe

In 2019, President Mnangagwa announced a fuel price increase. Protests against the increase caused Mnangagwa to shut down the internet. Critics called the shutdown “an attempt to hide growing reports of a violent crackdown on protests.” [source]

South Sudan

Protests? We can fix that with an internet shutdown. [source]

Zambia

Election day, 2021, warranted shutting down many social media platforms and some messaging apps. Although the Zambian government denied the reports Secretary, Amos Malupenga mentioned there would be no hesitation to take appropriate measures. [source]

Colombia

Colombia’s government used this innovative means of stopping protests here in May 2021 – an internet shut down. [source]

The Republic of the Congo

Another election day shutdown in 2021. This time in The Republic of the Congo. [source]

Armenia

Political unrest led to an internet shutdown here. [source] 

Russia

I think mentioning the word ‘elections’ regarding Russia is enough to make anybody laugh. Have a pesky election-tracking app you need shut down? A partial internet shutdown can do the trick. [source]

Myanmar

Coup underway? Better shut off the internet. [source]

Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s government shut down the internet 12 times before blacking out the country for nearly 16 days in 2020. Reports said this was an attempt to muzzle activists demanding justice for the killing of a beloved musician. [source]

Does the United States have an internet kill switch?

Technically, yes.

Under an entirely unconstitutional 1930s law on the books: 47 USC 606: War Powers of President; Chapter 5, Subchapter VI, the President has the authority to wield that mighty weapon.

The 1930s law reads: 

(c) Suspension or amendment of rules and regulations applicable to certain emission stations or devices

Upon proclamation by the President that there exists war or a threat of war, or a state of public peril or disaster or other national emergency, or in order to preserve the neutrality of the United States, the President, if he deems it necessary in the interest of national security or defense, may suspend or amend, for such time as he may see fit, the rules and regulations applicable to any or all stations or devices capable of emitting electromagnetic radiations within the jurisdiction of the United States as prescribed by the Commission, and may cause the closing of any station for radio communication, or any device capable of emitting electromagnetic radiations between 10 kilocycles and 100,000 megacycles, which is suitable for use as a navigational aid beyond five miles, and the removal therefrom of its apparatus and equipment, or he may authorize the use or control of any such station or device and/or its apparatus and equipment, by any department of the Government under such regulations as he may prescribe upon just compensation to the owners.

Perhaps you think this only applies to radios. It couldn’t possibly apply to your laptop or phone, right?

Don’t forget your devices use radio waves to receive their internet access. In addition, your devices can access Google Maps, which would qualify your computer as a navigational aid. 

What’s stopping the US Government from labeling EVERYTHING a national emergency?

“The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.” – Thomas Jefferson

If you consider that America now believes racism is a “public health emergency,” government authorities could very likely deem a public health crisis as “public peril, disaster or other national emergency.” Oh no! The government must shut down the internet! [source]

Emergencies’ have always been the pretext on which the safeguards of individual liberty have been eroded — and once they are suspended it is not difficult for anyone who has assumed such emergency powers to see to it that the emergency persists.” – FA Hayek [source]

This bill also gives armed men the notion they can take your equipment. And should you say no? Well, you can read the penalties section HERE. And also, before deciding you’re going down in a blaze of glory, check out Selco’s prediction of how that will work out for you.

What do you think would happen in the US if the switch got flipped?

While the first thing that comes to mind is communications, there are many more ramifications, particularly if it went on for a longer period of time.

Many people use “paperless billing” and pay for everything online. We use online banking for all sorts of purposes. ATMs are connected to the internet. Many businesses rely on an internet connection for daily operations. Daisy said on the topic, “When I worked for a car dealership, we had to have internet access to program all those computer modules controlling your vehicle, to look up malfunction codes, and to determine whether or not a repair was covered by warranty.” And that’s just one example of a business that uses the internet constantly. There are many, many more.

A whole lot more than social media and email would immediately grind to a halt.

Unplug the Internet Kill Switch Act of 2020

Last year in 2020, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard introduced the Unplug the Internet Kill Switch Act of 2020 to Congress. H.R.8336 would have directly attacked 47 USC 606, making it not pertain to internet usage. While Congress did not refuse the bill, they left it to sit with no further actions. [source] 

In 2016, we experienced something similar when the Supreme Court denied hearing a petition to release information on the ‘secret’ DHS internet kill switch protocol. [source] Because we need an internet kill switch, of course. THAT is an issue of national security.

“Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.” – William Pitt

Yes, internet kill switches exist – prepare accordingly

This website published an article about the possibility of a comms blackout and how to prepare for it back in January. Check it out for some useful and viable communications options. Also, don’t forget the importance of ham radio, although you should know that it’s not completely immune to governmental interference.

What are your thoughts on the internet kill switch? Do you think the US would use it? Do you think there are countries not listed here that have a kill switch they don’t admit to? Would you be prepared to handle full-on digital darkness? Do you have a backup communications plan? Let’s talk in the comments section.

About Aden

Aden Tate has a master’s in public health and is a regular contributor to TheOrganicPrepper.com, TheFrugalite.com, PewPewTactical.comSurvivalBlog.comSHTFBlog.comApartmentPrepper.comHomesteadAndPrepper.com, and PrepperPress.com. Along with being a freelance writer, he also works part-time as a locksmith. Aden has an LLC for his micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has two published books, The Faithful Prepper and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.

Aden Tate

Aden Tate

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  • You can bet as well that they will be shutting down the smart phone 4G/5G networks when the riffraff starts using their smartphones to coordinate flash mobs and looting. It’s the only way that law enforcement will be able to stop it.

  • Excellent article. That’s indeed a very effective manner to disorganize, demobilize and disincentive the majority of population upheavals, at least in the first moments (until government can retake the rein).

    An internet shutdown would cause all sorts of trouble and difficulties to people who’d have to instantly enter survival mode to keep going, too. Unless the revolt is too big to contain, then maybe things can escalate somehow. But it’s much harder in these days, and the examples show this.

    Society doesn’t have a contingency plan to get organized and communicating. Today everything is by social media. And before anyone says HAM radio to the rescue, I’m into HAM so I’ll be the first to admit it’d be pretty easy for the government to crack down on repeaters and associations too, greatly limiting the use and efficacy of HAM. Heck, it’s already limited, a niche thing basically.

    The government on the other hand has protocols do communicate down the chain of command and keep institutions and agents reasonably informed and moving. Contrary to what most people think, communication is not just about gear, equipment. Governments know this, we should too.

  • Kill Switch Activated:
    911 call centers flooded with “emergency” calls of people not being able to get to their Fakebook page.
    All the FAANGs stocks drop by 3,000%.
    Run on banks. Some people see real. physical cash for the first time in their lives.
    Masses of people curled up in the fetal position, staring into blank screens whispering, “Its okay . . . it will come back . . . Its okay . . . it will come back . . . Its okay . . . it will come back . . . ”
    After day three, with nothing else to do, some people start to venture outside. They actually meet their neighbors and begin talking. They meet up with friends in real space, and have actual conversations.
    Others notice for the first time those things on the shelves, called books, and start reading them to include classics, dystopian fiction, history, and Dune. People begin to think for themselves.
    Some discover they like the outdoors and begin to walk, and hike and do other outdoor activities. Physical fitness, health and well being improves. Mental health quickly follows. Big Pharma stocks nosedive.

    The WH admin, shocked and alarmed people interact with each other, talking! People reading and thinking for themselves! Improved physical and mental health, (and pressure from the FAANGs and Big Pharma) turns the internet back on!

    • After day 1 they start rioting and looting, pillaging and plundering. Your neighbor will steal your food and water not carry on philosophical conversations and offer you the last of his cold beer.

      • What I wrote, was satire.

        My retired neighbors, whom call me whenever they need something moved or done on a ladder, carry on conversations on a regular basis.
        I also give them eggs when I have a surplus.

        The other neighbors, they are like minded when it comes to prepping. We get together on a semi-regular basis, talk hunting, shoot guns, grill out and drink beer.

    • “they meet up with friends in real space, and have actual conversations”

      dunno. the ability to ignore and separate from other people is an important safety valve for many …

    • Your analysis assumes a wonderful group of peaceable relaxed folk. Sorry, after 3 days, or less, the supermarkets and Walmarts will be empty and people will start losing it. Roving bands of marauders will form to take what they want by force and all hell will break loose. Any thoughts on the control of that?

    • To add to my initial post (satire):
      With the internet down, millions of women rejoice as they are now no longer subject to cyberstalking and harassment from incels.

  • Please take the time to listen to this 10 minute video where the “ice age farmer” shares video clips of a Hebrew professor clearly stating that humans are NOW “hackable animals” and then proceeds to tell us that our ability to be an individual soul is NOW over:

    https://odysee.com/@iceagefarmer:42/no-soul,-no-free-will.-the-end-of:a

    Did you also hear beginning at the 3:45 minute mark the same man “Klaus Schwab” say “this 4th industrial revolution changes YOU through genetic editing” is the same man who says “you will own nothing in 10 years”:

    https://www.armstrongeconomics.com/world-news/conspiracy/klaus-schwab-says-you-will-own-nothing-in-10-years/

    This beast system has been prophesied to rule the last 8 years of this present age before it is completely destroyed and a new everlasting kingdom takes its place:

    https://sumofthyword.com/2021/01/07/mystery-babylon-the-great-and-her-beast/

    https://sumofthyword.com/2016/10/04/the-rapture-of-the-church-is-after-the-tribulation/

    • “NOW ‘hackable animals’”

      “now”? we always have been, and have always been hacked from the beginning. we’re not the only ones here.

      what he probably means is that he and his have found how how to do it for themselves to their own purposes.

  • The “internet” grew out of the military’s Darpa net. The “dark net” that most people do not use is many times larger than the open side of the internet but both are basically still controlled by the military. The law about communications was written in the 30’s but has been updated to include ALL forms of communications to include CB, ham radio, and satellite. The federal Constitution, Art 1 Sec 8 Cl 17, limits the JURISDICTION of the federal govt but when did that ever stop anyone with the power/might of the govt from enforcing what they want to enforce?

  • I’ll simply say I don’t have to like it. It shouldn’t be shocking. I’d be interested in ways to contact friends or family is states not so close to make sure they are still there and safe. Smoke signals won’t do it. Snail mail may also be hindered. Too far for 2 cans and a string.
    How long would it last? Long enough to feel in control.

  • Communication is at the top of my list of “things that keep me up at night” and it’s admittedly for staying in touch with family and friends. I’m truly scratching my head on this one. I’d love to know the latest, greatest, craziest ideas!

  • The USA did this already in San Francisco about 10 years ago. It was during a protest, and although I cant remember why, I think it had to do with a BART station. No cell phones or pagers would work.

    • It was just the cell phone repeaters on the underground sections of BART. Thats all. Until a few months before those riots cell phones did not work on the underground sections. BART added the underground repeaters but then the rioters started using cell phones for organizing flash mobbing the transit police so BART turned off the repeaters until the rioting ended.

  • A deliberate kill switch worries me relatively little, because the outrage would be such that it wouldn’t stay down for long. I’m more worried about real technical glitches and shortages of parts (because these days there are shortages of everything). Because in that case, no matter the level of outrage, it won’t be possible for the Internet to go up again till the issue can be fixed.

  • The US government is not the only entity with a kill switch. Back in July of 2021 the globalist WEF crowd ran a simulation of an enormous power grids shutdown called Cyber Polygon. A byproduct of that exercise had to include temporarily zapping the internet. The seriousness of that exercise might be judged by their previous such simulation back in the fall of 2019 of a mass pandemic …which was followed by the real thing a few months later in the spring of 2020.

    So we might get an early exercise of such trash long before the US government turns kill-switch motivated. While such an early event would lock up most commerce, using cash for a few in-person transactions would still be legal. Later (as the trend towards an all-digital cashless economy is accelerating) IF cash becomes illegal (like the partial experiment in India) the shutdown of the economy would be nearly in total. The vast majority of people are not barter oriented or equipped … nor do they have the skills and equipment to live like the Amish (who regularly do business with outsiders who do rely on electric power).

    The question to which none of us has an answer is how long might such outages last. Phrased more brutally … how much mass starvation might either the US government OR the globalist eugenics fanatics decide is sufficiently acceptable?

    There are some small scale projects under development to create a separate decentralized internet for uses such as crypto currency transactions and lots of other blockchain uses. The idea is to build a system without the security weaknesses of the Tim Berners-Lee style internet we all know. However we have just seen where China has outlawed crypto currencies — at least long enough until they can have a government monopoly on a digital yuan as the only legal crypto.

    Since it’s clear that Joe Biden’s assisted living handlers have zero respect for what we have long thought were constitutional rights … all bets are off regarding how bad such oppression might become … in addition to that from the genocidal globalists who have made no secret of their deadly intentions.

    –Lewis

    • -Lewis,
      Great post, as always.

      Unfortunately, I could see some think a loss of 25% of the American population as acceptable.
      I also think their arrogance would blind side them and things will not go according to their plan (see Afghanistan withdraw, Southern border, COVID response just to name a few).
      Sure, some will say it is all according to their plan. But even the best laid plans are only good until first contact. After that, it is who can best adapt to a fluid dynamic battle field.
      Cut off the internet, then they may blind themselves as everyone else. And they lose the control of the narrative.

    • “how much mass starvation might either the US government OR the globalist eugenics fanatics decide is sufficiently acceptable?”

      all possibly rebellious cattle eliminated, and only reliably-tamed slaves remaining. that much.

      • (((They))) will be quite surprised to learn that most of the “mass starvation” will occur in the heavily populated areas which houses the bulk of demonrats, antifa, blm, etc. … (((their))) support base. The off-the-rails MSM will broadcast the wailing and gnashing of teeth while never suspecting that when the smoke clears a bit they’ll be in the crosshairs. In that regard, righteous indignation will be the equivalent of unholy vengeance.

  • There are already ways to kill the internet for most users – disable DNS. Most people (the VAST majority) would never be able to navigate around the internet without their www. addresses. “IP address? What the heck is that?” most would say. There are a couple of ways around that – first off, open a command prompt (in Windows, hit the start button and type CMD ). At the prompt, type “ping xxx” where xxx is www.(siteyouwanttolookat).com. In many cases, this will return an IP address that you can then type into your browser to pull up the site without the www.(sitename).com address. Now, some sites don’t give you any option to pull them up this way (I’m looking at you, Organic Prepper), but others will allow it (Ice Age Farmer, etc.).

    One more thing I like to do is to use RSS feeds (yes, Organic Prepper has one). Didn’t know about that? Do a web search to find out how to use them. At the very least, you can get feeds from sites you read for news and reliable information.

    Also, there is a movement afoot to use IPFS (Interplanetary File System) to work around some of these issues. And you can use TOR to go to .onion sites, if you dare.

    None of this would solve the problem of the government actually killing physical connections, but they could help work around other issues, like losing DNS services.

    • -Jim,
      Good to see someone who knows a bit more about how the internet works.

      But IF they opt to use the Kill Switch, kinda moot, no?

      Been looking into Whonix as of late. Interesting idea.

      • There is one thing I’d like to look into more deeply. When I was studying to upgrade my ham radio license (I have a General now), I found something about being able to send email over ham radio even if the internet is down. I don’t know much about it, or if it’s even viable or requires special software and hardware to do, but it’s intriguing.

        • When I was in, we sent a jpg to a F/A-18 using IIRC a PRC92 and a special antenna.
          The crypto ate half the bandwidth.

  • People act like just because a group of thugs calls itself a ‘government’, it means it’s legitimate. It has always been the same way, whether a ‘Chief’ and his close friends, a ‘King’ and his Knights, a ‘Leader’ and his police and military forces. Those that wield power have but one goal, and that is to stay in power, by whatever means necessary. Interrupting communications is a lot better than just killing people they think don’t support them.

  • You give them TOO MUCH power. Know your Constitution that limits their power because they certainly don’t read it.

    Why would you give base men so much power? You also NEED to read your Bible first because that is what your Constitution is BASED on.

    Most of them up there are PAGANS who abhor truth.

  • I’ve discussed this with friends for years. Communications is slightly overrated. If the internet, thus cell phones, credit cards, electronic shopping-banking and AHEM Gas Stations going off line due to lack of electricity , of what use is talking to your friends across the country?

    Face it friends, friends beyond 20 mile of you really cannot help you in a Web-Grid down situation.

    My great concern is INFORMATION. I’m guilty of using the Big G to find out about almost everything. Information on the Internet is on LOAN.

    If it’s important get Hard Copy. Books work as long as you can read the pages 🙂

    Having a good shortwave plus radio gets you some information beyond your area. Having even CB radios gives you UNSECURE and RDF vulnerable communications.

  • Your local hospital more than likely uses medical software that is URL based. This isn’t just the IT & Finance folks working from home through VPN. It is also the clinicians that need to order your lab work, your MRI, etc.

  • Kill all the peering points and traffic will not move between major networks.

    Of course they have this ability. Child’s play. Basic networking 101. Lots of ways to do it if your Uncle Sugar.

    My guess just another executive order.

  • At this point, I put nothing the government of the USA will do to further their agenda. Would they cut the internet? In 3 shakes of a lamb’s tail!

  • “What do you think would happen in the US if the switch got flipped?”

    this is misleading hype. it wouldn’t be shut down all at once for the whole country, it would only be shut down for terrorists and subversives and vaccine-evaders. you know – you guys. everybody else will get their $2000 stimmi-checks and free passage to the free stuff, while you’ll be locked out. regions, states, industries, businesses, corporations, churches, towns, blocks, individuals – as needed.

    been saying this since 2010, or 2008, or something.

  • Well, HAM radio, has an enormous amount of resources, and the FCC has all of it’s rules and regulations. BUT! in an emergency all the rules and regulations go out the window. The FCC resources are very limited, and they have to go to the FBI, or some other LE services to get protective help. I have been a HAM 61 years now, and a military radio operator over ten years. Believe this, if a person needs a radio in an emergency situation, I don’t know of any way the government can totally shut down a service. If I had to, I would change to tactical call signs, Limit my transmission to within my group, and change frequencies very often. YES they have monitoring and DF capabilities, but, they are very limited, and sparce. The few competent operators of that equipment would be spread pretty thin. It is also possible to make very cheap, expendable portable repeaters very easily. I already have created that capability. So don’t discount the enginuity of HAMs and others to create good comms in stressful times.

  • Well the original internet, DARPANET, used old fashioned modems and as long as you have a phone line and a computer at the other end with a modem there is no kill switch. The idea was if a chunk of the network got blown away you just routed around finding a computer with a modem that was still working.

    So if you have a modem, a traditional copper phone line and a telephone number with a properly configured computer at the other end there is no kill switch. The kill switch is purely for broadband / backbone access. Which is where pretty much all traffic migrated since the late 1990’s.

    Now some places might have problems find a POTS traditional phone service (not VOIP) but if you can get that, the modem, an international calling card / plan, and the telephone number of a computer that can act as an internet gateway outside the US (Canada/ Mexico/Europe etc) then any kill switch can be routed around. It will be a very slow link (56k) and you will have to turn off all graphics and scripting on webpages. But it will work. So for instant messaging, emails etc would still work. Simplest solution might be to buy a very old (very cheap) laptop running something like Win95 with all the software installed. And a builtin modem. It should be very cheap.

    • I regret to say that the old copper lines are / have being phased out in Oz and NZ . When the power goes down here = NO phone & internet

  • A bit of a pathetic jibe at Russia suggesting that *their* elections are rigged.

    The only elections fixed in that country thta I know of in the last 4 decades were fixed by the US to get Yeltsin back in.

    Putin has 65% approval on a bad week, 85% on a good one. Why on earth would he need to fix an election ?

    I guess we’re all victims of programming.

  • ok, so I am a network engineer of the highest skill level. (I design whole datacenter and global networks). So I can say with some authority, you have NO FREAKING IDEA what you are talking about.

    There is no “whole US” internet kill switch. It’s not even possible to create one. Sure you can cut off Cuba. It’s a freaking island with only a few external links. Not very different from how you can kill your own home internet, just a few more links. Or you could setup a policy on each link that blocks civilian traffic but allows gov traffic through, but still same idea. China designed it’s entire internet around censoring at the edge and still mostly fails with external content. Xinjiang and all other places you mentioned are backwater no-wheres with limited numbers of external connections.

    The US on the other hand is the most well connected place on earth. There are hundreds of thousand or even millions of links owned and controlled buy hundreds of actors.

    Could the US gov tell all the ISPs to start cutting customers off? Sure. Would it work? Maybe, mostly after a lot of trying. There would be lots of gaps. Your office internet at any decent sized company works nothing like your home internet and would likely still work.

    The author(and nearly all the commentators) clearly know nothing what-so-ever about how the internet works. To anyone who knows how networks work this whole article sounds like crackpot alien abduction garbage. Do yourself a favor and delete it.

    • Although I don’t disagree, and several pockets and areas would still be online, what about internet exchanges? It would have massive impact as it is a central point that most / all ISP rely upon

  • Indonesia is one you missed. They regularly shut down messaging apps like FB and WA. They did so in the riots of 2019 in Jakarta for example.

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