Here are 4 clever and easy ways to stay online the next time there is Internet shutdown

Elections time or whenever there is a civil protest against authority are normally the most likely time governments shuts down Internet.

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Observers say that the harsh measures are a direct result of the exponential growth of the internet as a primary tool for communication and content creation.

Apart from the disruption, likely to fuel anxiety among populations, the economic costs of internet shutdowns in Africa can also be immense.

Morocco, for instance lost $320 million after disrupting internet for 182 days while Republic of Congo lost $72 million for disrupting internet for 15 days.

Elections time or whenever there is a civil protest against authority are normally the most likely time governments shuts down Internet in order to disrupt any plans through breaking down communications.

Kenya which is heading to the general election on August 8th and had earlier threatened to shut down internet before backing off.

The election commission announced yesterday that a quarter of voting stations won’t have network coverage to transmit the results of electronic voting machines.

Anyway should the internet be shut down for one reason or another don’t sweat it.

Here are a few things you can do the next time there is an internet shutdown, to avoid the blackouts.

Go anonymous

There are numerous circumvention tools that can be used to evade censorship and to access the internet anonymously.

Some of the most common and easy to use web tools are Psiphon, an open source web proxy that helps users skirt content-filtering systems and Tor, which essentially prevents people from tracing your location or spying on your browsing habits.

Sometimes though governments can sometimes use sophisticated technology to block these same sites but who says you cannot give it a try.

Tor is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android.

Go the VPN way

Virtual private networks, or VPNs is one of the most common ways people have figured out they can use to get secure access to a remote computer over the internet.

During Uganda’s presidential election for instance majority of local and international observers relied on VPN to monitor the elections,

VPNs constituted the top 12 apps downloaded during the elections held last February.

VPNs can, however, differ from region to region, and it is important to know the safety and security of each specific networks before use.

Go the safety first way

Sometimes all what one needs to do is just observe simple steps while surfing online.

Simple stuff like ensuring that all the sites you are using are delivered over HTTPS will allow you to know for sure that you are accessing the original site and not an altered version of it.

Also make sure you have reliable and updated anti-virus software, so as to detect and remove malicious software from your laptop.

Go seek help from the experts

For journalists and writers who are engaged in reporting sensitive information, it is important to know where to seek help before blackouts.

Access Now, for example, runs a 24-hour digital security help line, which can advise users even during emergencies.

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