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 7:30 p.m. UTC (3:30 p.m. VET) Tuesday 14 May 2019 shortly before Juan Guaidó is scheduled to make a public statement on today’s blockade of the National Assembly building.
The move comes hours after security forces blocked Venezuelan lawmakers from entering parliament, and shortly after Guaidó’s presidential Twitter account announced that the public statement would be held at 3:30 p.m.
Alert: YouTube, Google services and Bing disrupted in #Venezuela prior to Guaidó speech on blockade of National Assembly building; incident ongoing #14May #KeepItOn 📉https://t.co/UHP8qgYjUt pic.twitter.com/l7GPbepfaP
— NetBlocks.org (@netblocks) May 14, 2019
An estimated 50% of google.com 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:
Update: An estimated 50% of google·com search traffic now appears to be disrupted in #Venezuela as authorities attempt to restrict access to live streams by National Assembly deputies and Juan Guaidó⏱7:30 p.m. UTC (3:30 p.m. VET) #14May #KeepItOn 📉https://t.co/UHP8qgYjUt pic.twitter.com/uKYFy99HRA— NetBlocks.org (@netblocks) May 14, 2019
Data indicate that connectivity was restored in two distinct phases following the end of the public statements:
Update: Access YouTube, Google services and Bing has been restored in #Venezuela following the end of public statements by National Assembly deputies and Juan Guaidó⏱incident duration ~2 hours #14May #KeepItOn 📈https://t.co/UHP8qgYjUt pic.twitter.com/7EodDAb4rx— NetBlocks.org (@netblocks) May 14, 2019
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.
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.