Network data from NetBlocks confirm a significant disruption to internet service in Kazakhstan from the evening of Tuesday 4 January 2022, progressing to a nation-scale communications blackout on Wednesday afternoon.
The disruptions come amid widening protests against sudden energy price rises that started on the weekend in the western town of Zhanaozen.
⚠️ Confirmed: #Kazakhstan is now in the midst of a nation-scale internet blackout after a day of mobile internet disruptions and partial restrictions.
The incident is likely to severely limit coverage of escalating anti-government protests.
📰 Report: https://t.co/Op5GwzXKbh pic.twitter.com/pdHJkJFe7v
— NetBlocks (@netblocks) January 5, 2022
The initial incident had high impact to mobile services and some fixed-lines from Tuesday, while the blackout beginning around 5 p.m. local time Wednesday affects almost all connectivity in the country.
⚠️ Update: Live metrics show that #Kazakhstan‘s leading mobile internet services Kcell, Beeline and Tele2 remain significantly disrupted on Wednesday morning as President Tokayev declares a state of emergency amid widening anti-government protests 📵
📰 https://t.co/Op5GwzXKbh pic.twitter.com/EtO59yAX5n
— NetBlocks (@netblocks) January 5, 2022
What’s happening in Kazakhstan?
Protests against rising energy prices are being held in Kazakhstan for the third consecutive day, with many demonstrators speaking out against the country’s leadership. The disruption is likely to limit the public’s ability to express political discontent and communicate freely.
Thousands are participating in the protests, which were sparked by the lifting of price caps on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) over the New Year.
This class of internet disruption affects connectivity at the network layer and cannot always be worked around with the use of circumvention software or VPNs. The blackout has also resulted in the international loss of access to websites and services hosted in Kazakhstan, including government and news websites.
Kazakhstan has a history of internet restrictions to control protests, with previous nation-scale communication restrictions documented by NetBlocks during elections and the country’s Victory day.
- Kazakh protesters torch public buildings; emergency declared, Cabinet resigns – Reuters
- Reports: Protesters in Kazakhstan storm city mayor’s office – Associated Press
- Kazakhstan Sees ‘Nation-scale Internet Blackout’ Amid Protests – AFP
- Kazakhstan Reportedly Hit By Internet Blackout As Oil-Rich Nation Breaks Out In Rare Anti-Government Protests – Forbes
- Kazakhstan shut down the internet as violent fuel-price protests rock the country and force out the government – Business Insider
- Kazakhstan’s president vows ‘robust’ response to protests – Al Jazeera
- NetBlocks: Internet restricted in Kazakhstan – Azattyk
- Toqaev Inaugurated As Kazakhstan’s President Amid New Arrests – RFE/RL
- Kazakhstan’s move to control internet prompts censorship, surveillance concerns – Committee to Protect Journalists
NetBlocks diffscans, which map the IP address space of a country in real time, show internet connectivity levels and corresponding outages. Purposeful internet outages may have a distinct network pattern used by NetBlocks to determine and attribute the root cause of an outage, a process known as attribution which follows detection and classification stages.
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