Algeria is shaken by the Baccalaureate exams which did not take place normally, for another year. Authorities have shut down the internet across the country to prevent cheating, leaving businesses on non-working days, causing more than $ 100 million in losses.
Once again, the Algerian authorities have locked down the internet, putting certain regions of the country in a situation of total blackout since Sunday. The blackouts started at 8 a.m. (HL) until 5 p.m.
If in recent weeks the Algerian authorities had used this method to prevent the dissemination of images, videos and messages during the Hirak marches, in order to prevent the situation from being publicized abroad, this time, it t is to avoid cheating in the BAC exams that the government has resorted to it.
But this is not the first year that the power has made use of it, it is the 6th year in which the internet is disrupted in the country without the authorities announcing it, putting the population in a situation of fait accompli .
Algerians denounced a new attack on their freedoms, in particular that of consumers who pay for these internet connections but who cannot take advantage of them because of the abusive policy of power which systematically cuts the internet or blocks social networks to repress freedom of expression .
And it is the silence of the authorities and of Algeria Telecom that most revolted the population, who felt they had the right to be notified or consulted before a decision was taken that had an impact on businesses and could cause serious problems.
It was not until the third day of the BAC tests that Algeria Telecom, the public operator with a monopoly in the country, made a statement, speaking of a “restriction of access to certain networks for a fixed term ”, at a time when many Algerians denounced the blocking of the entire Internet.
The main telecom operator in the country simply indicated that it “takes care to support the conduct of the baccalaureate exams in order to contribute to the success of the 2021 session and to ensure it more credibility and integrity”.
However, several voices are raised against this technique used by the public authorities and do not understand how the State chooses to penalize the whole country when it is possible to set up network jammers in the examination classes.
In 2020, NGO Netblocks estimated that each day the Internet was cut off cost the country’s GDP some 101,831,930 dollars, or 12,221,662,298 Algerian dinars (1,200 billion centimes). In 5 days of cuts, the losses had been estimated at 68 million dollars for the cut-off of access to social networks and 509 million dollars for the general cut-off of internet access.