"This bulletin examines the role of information technology, citizen journalists, and bloggers in Burma and presents a technical analysis of the abrupt shutdown of Internet connectivity by the Burmese government on September 29, 2007, following its violent crackdown on protesters there. Completely cutting international Internet links is rare. Nepal, which severed all international Internet connections when the King declared martial law in February 2005, is the only other state to take such drastic action. Although extreme, the measures taken by the Burmese government to limit citizens’ use of the Internet during this crisis are consistent with previous OpenNet Initiative (ONI) findings in Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, and Tajikistan, where authorities controlled access to communication technologies as a way to limit social mobilization around key political events. What makes the Burmese junta stand out, however, is its apparent goal of also preventing information from reaching a wider international audience..."
"Pulling the Plug" builds upon past ONI research to contextualize the recent technical and political developments in Burma. In turn, the bulletin has implications for the role of information technology and citizen media on democracy and economic growth, which are among the topics that will occupy the Berkman Center over the next decade.
The full bulletin can be found as a PDF here and in HTML here.