A new report from Wednesday, March 16 indicates how expensive censorship can actually prove it. This study from Top10VPN showcased how pricey it has been for governments all over to cut off internet and block individual social media apps. At the point, Russia tops the list in losing about $861 million since January 2022 by internet outages caused deliberately. In fact, it proved to be double of what Kazakhstan lost in the second largest censorship, that was $429.5 million.
The estimate is from the direct, as well as the indirect effects of these restrictions on the economies, the NetBlock watchdog group specifies. The mentioned cost shows what the population of the nation could lose from these shutdowns and restrictions on internet and apps. These effects include low productivity in work, investment potential and opportunity, to digital and digital-dependent sectors. This proves to be one heavy form of expenditure for a nation like Russia.
Numerous nations from the west visibly enacted expensive sanctions against Russia amidst the war in Ukraine. These sanctions are hitting the economy of the country so badly that many suspect a recession incoming. Clearly, the citizens will move towards the dark web, or get distanced from reliable information due to the increasing Kremlin censorship.
“This kind of deliberate disruption is internet censorship in its most extreme form,” the researchers wrote. “Not only do these internet outages infringe on citizens’ digital rights but they are also acts of economic self-harm.
Despite the unprecedented investment in the creation of an “iron curtain” surrounding the internet. Russian web was still somewhat free. Though, made to cut citizens off from news of independent or international nature, it was still lenient compared the Iranian and Chinese strong arms. Putin had control of Russia’s free newspapers and broadcast stations. However, reports specified how its internet was still exposed to the vast online world. Additionally, citizens still had means to access of other sources of news. Russia had blocked various social media apps and internet source since its invasion of Ukraine. It had placed bans for Russian citizens on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Along with BBC, CNN, some Ukrainian sources and others.
Since then, Russians are struggling to find ways around the bans, with the need for virtual private network (VPN) services rising in the country. Moreover, they are even turning to the dark web as the time goes by. Resulting in Twitter launching a version that would be accessible through dark web. Russians can finally find a way to access information, as the Kremlin continues investing in censorship.