Venezuela internet censorship resumes while much of country remains offline

Network performance data shows that Venezuela’s state-run internet provider ABA CANTV (AS8048) restricted access to YouTube, Twitter’s video streaming service Periscope, several Google services and Microsoft Bing for a period of three and a half hours on 27 March 2019.

The blocks, which lasted from 16:05 UTC to 19:35 UTC (12:05 PM to 3:35 PM VET) coincided with a press conference by Juan Guaidó detailing plans for a national resistance dubbed Operación Libertad. Network data shows that the disruptions are distinct from outages caused by ongoing nationwide power outages.

The findings are based on a set of 2400 network performance and reachability measurements as observed from 120 vantage points across Venezuela. NetBlocks diffscan measurements taken in the same time window indicate that some 70% of Venezuela’s networks were fully offline due to ongoing power outages:

The new outages mark the return of ephemeral, or intermittent internet censorship imposed by the state appearing to target critical speech. Data are consistent with previous targeted disruptions during public appearances by the leader, and during sessions of Venezuela’s National Assembly.

Venezuela saw a remission in ephemeral network filtering and blocking of social media and streaming platforms during the nationwide power outages through March. News media and campaign website filters have nevertheless remained in place throughout that period.

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 each platform disruption is consistent with methods used to block online content in Venezuela.


Internet performance and service reachability are determined via NetBlocks web probe privacy-preserving analytics. Each measurement consists of latency round trip time, outage type and autonomous system number aggregated in real-time to assess service availability and latency in a given country. Network providers and locations are enumerated as vantage point pairs. The root cause of a service outage may be additionally corroborated by means of traffic analysis and manual testing as detailed in the report.

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.

NetBlocks is an internet monitor working at the intersection of digital rights, cyber-security and internet governance. Independent and non-partisan, NetBlocks strives to deliver a fair and inclusive digital future for all.

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