Data from the NetBlocks internet observatory show that Venezuela’s state-run internet provider ABA CANTV (AS8048) has restricted access to YouTube, Twitter’s video service Periscope, Google services and Bing as of 4:00 p.m. UTC (12:00 p.m. VET) Tuesday 21 May 2019 during the live streaming of a session of the Venezuelan National Assembly. In the session, parliamentarians are set to debate the gasoline shortage crisis.
Security forces reportedly attempted to prevent Venezuelan lawmakers from entering parliament and blocked journalists from entering the federal legislative palace, in a bit to limit media coverage of the the sessions for a third week.
Confirmed: #YouTube, Twitter's video service #Periscope, Google services and Bing disrupted in #Venezuela as authorities seek to restrict National Assembly live-streams; incident ongoing #SesiónAN #21May #KeepItOn 📉https://t.co/4eA9LlDQWv pic.twitter.com/chKgNaSUuY
— NetBlocks.org (@netblocks) May 21, 2019
Update: Access to YouTube, Periscope, Google services and Bing has been restored at around 7:00 p.m. UTC (3:00 p.m. VET), a while after the conclusion of the National Assembly session:
Update: Access to YouTube, Periscope, Google services and Bing restored in #Venezuela after restriction targeting National Assembly live streams; incident duration ~3 hours #21May #KeepItOn 📈https://t.co/4eA9LlDQWv pic.twitter.com/dtI0IgBX5V— NetBlocks.org (@netblocks) May 21, 2019
Internet filtering in Venezuela has become increasingly pronounced in recent weeks, 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.