NetBlocks and the Internet Society Launch Tool to Calculate the Cost of Internet Censorship Worldwide

News Update |

A new tool to support internet freedom is being launched by NetBlocks and The Internet Society, a global non-profit organisation dedicated to the open development, use and evolution of the Internet.

Launch COSTRun the Cost of Shutdown Tool

The organisations have partnered up to build COST, a tool that seeks to measure the economic cost of internet disruptions to support the adoption of rights-based internet governance around the world.

The Cost of Shutdown Tool (COST) launches today to mark the 70th Anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights enacted by the United Nations on December 10, 1948.

COST is a data-driven policy tool that automates the task of assessing the economic impact of internet shutdowns, mobile data blackouts and social media restrictions including throttling.

COST performs calculations by country, type of disruption and length of time, combining thousands of development indicators in real time to offer insights into the impact of internet governance and misgovernance on sustainable development, human rights and digital prosperity.

“This tool will empower the next stage of data-driven advocacy. By calculating numbers in real time, COST will allows us to communicate to governments and technology companies on how much revenue they’re losing when they disrupt the internet. We hope by the tool will make governments think twice before threatening internet freedom, ” Hannah Machlin, Global Advocacy Manager for the NetBlocks Group, said.

“ We believe the opportunities brought by the Internet should be available for everyone and a tool such as COST can help governments understand the economic impact of shutting down or blocking the Internet.  While we can’t quantify the human cost of switching off the Internet, this helps quantify the economic cost,” explains Constance Bommelaer de Leusse, Senior Director Global Internet Policy for The Internet Society.

The COST tool is built upon established research papers published by the Brookings Institution for global coverage and a specialised model by CIPESA for sub-Saharan Africa, taking into account indirect economic factors and informal economies that play a major role in the region. Economic indicators are integrated from open data sources including the World Bank, ITU and Eurostat.

You can read more about it here.