Students taking an exam in class with a map of Algeria imposed over

Algeria: Exam Season 2023 Internet Shutdowns

Picture of Robbie Mitchell
Senior Communication and Technology Advisor, Internet Society
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June 15, 2023

Algeria is experiencing daily Internet disruptions as part of reported efforts by local authorities to curb cheating during its weeklong long baccalaureate tests.

Since 2016, Algerian authorities have imposed Internet shutdowns during exams. These shutdown efforts have included performing content blocking, disrupting mobile networks, and cutting fixed-line Internet connections. In the case of 2023, these shutdowns are happening twice a day between 08:00-12:00 local time (07:00-11:00 UTC) and between 14:00-17:00 local time (13:00-16:00 UTC).

See data and measurements of all shutdowns in Algeria since May 2019.

In analyzing the data, it appears that the Algerian government is this time engaging in content blocking where the actual Internet connections remain active, but the Internet service providers are ordered to block certain sites. For example, the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI) website connectivity measurements tool shows (Figure 1) that news media sites have experienced the most disruptions since 12 June (186 anomalies and 129 failures) followed by anonymization and circumvention tools (107, 60), human rights issues (70, 70), and LGBTQ+ sites (34, 13). Note, social networking sites (14, 17) and E-Commerce (4, 0) ranked eighth and fifteenth among the 31 categories.

Figure 1 — Results of web connectivity test for popular web content being accessed in Algeria from 12-14 June 2023. Source: OONI

As a comparison, Figure 2 shows the results of the above categories for the week prior (5-8 June). During this week News Media ranked sixth (73 anomalies, 24 failures), human rights issues ranked 12th (16, 3), E-commerce ranked 14th (8, 1), Social Networking ranked 15th (8, 9), anonymization and circumvention tools ranked 16th (8, 53), and LGBTQ+ sites ranked 24th (1, 0)

Figure 2 — Results of web connectivity test for popular web content being accessed in Algeria from 5-8 June 2023. Source: OONI

At Internet Society Pulse, we repeatedly discuss the issue of shutting down access to the Internet during exams and how it hinders digital development and online rights. Learn more about exam shutdowns in 2023.

Take action against exam shutdowns. Join the effort to demand authorities guarantee open access to the Internet at all times. Middle Eastern governments must hear our call: #NoExamShutdown!

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