Streaming services disrupted in Venezuela prior to Guaidó meeting with professionals and technicians

Network data shows that Venezuela’s state-run internet provider ABA CANTV (AS8048) has restricted access to YouTube, Google services, Bing and Periscope from approximately 3:15 p.m. UTC (11:15 a.m. VET) Thursday 16 May 2019 as Juan Guaidó is set to meet the group of Professionals and Technicians.

The incident indicates a tactical shift toward blocking prior to appearances by Guaidó, instead of after the start of appearances by the politician, with a similar incident of internet filtering observed on Tuesday.

An significant portion of search traffic now also appears to be disrupted in Venezuela as authorities attempt to restrict access to the YouTube live streams, as filters targeting Google’s streaming service appear to have also disrupted the company’s flagship search product:

Internet filtering in Venezuela has become increasingly pronounced in recent days, with a series of major disruptions during and after the uprising of April 30 2019.

Data indicate that connectivity was restored in two distinct phases following the end of the speech, lasted 2,5 hours.

NetBlocks studies in recent days have produced technical evidence of targeted censorship targeting press conferences by Guaidó,  political activist Leopoldo Lopez and a meeting of oil industry workers.

Similar targeted disruptions have previously been observed during public appearances by Juan Guaidó, and during sessions of Venezuela’s National Assembly. Venezuela saw a remission in ephemeral network filtering during the nationwide power outages through March. News media and campaign website filters remained in place throughout that period and intermittent censorship resumed even as much of the country remained offline due to chronic power grid failures.

Past incidents of network filtering in Venezuela have lasted from twelve minutes to over twenty hours, when YouTube was restricted hours before the country’s first nationwide power outage. Network data indicates that the platform disruptions are consistent with methods used to block online content in Venezuela.

NetBlocks is a civil society group working at the intersection of digital rights, cyber-security and internet governance. Independent and non-partisan, NetBlocks strives for an open and inclusive digital future for all.

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