Platform disruptions affecting multiple streaming platforms including YouTube, Google apps, Android backend servers and Microsoft Bing have been detected by the NetBlocks internet observatory on state provider ABA CANTV (AS8048), starting 4:03 p.m. UTC (12:03 p.m. VET) Tuesday 7 May 2019 during the live streaming of a session of the Venezuelan National Assembly.
Confirmed: YouTube, Google services and Bing restricted in #Venezuela from 4:03 p.m. UTC (12:03 p.m. VET) during live-streamed National Assembly session; incident ongoing #AsambleaVE #7May #KeepItOn ⬇️https://t.co/EC9yh7NBbe pic.twitter.com/td1k18C4mf
— NetBlocks.org (@netblocks) May 7, 2019
The censored National Assembly session is sitting to discuss politically significant topics including re-entry to the Rio Treaty (TIAR), the persecution and detention of deputies, and forced disappearances.
The NetBlocks web probe chart shows overall reachability of the affected platforms across Venezuela, based on network performance measurement data collected from 20 vantage points across the country.
Update: Restrictions have been lifted as Assembly adjourns, with data indicating that the censorship measures may have also impaired critical services including Google search:
Update: Access to YouTube, Google apps and Bing restored in #Venezuela, as data shows Google search (google·com, dotted line in chart) may have been accidentally impacted by censorship measures targeting National Assembly live-stream #SesiónAN #KeepItOn ⬇️https://t.co/EC9yh7NBbe pic.twitter.com/JhrVEuY9Bx— NetBlocks.org (@netblocks) May 7, 2019
Internet censorship 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 political activist Leopoldo Lopez and a meeting of oil industry workers.
The new disruptions show the continuation 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 Juan Guaidó, and during previous sessions of Venezuela’s National Assembly. Connectivity returns when adversary Nicolás Maduro and his officials address the population.
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.
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 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 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.