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What Would Happen If the Internet Went Down … Forever?

Popular Mechanics – “…So how long could society carry on without the internet? However implausible, it’s nonetheless a scenario that futurists, economists, and IT workers spend considerable time contemplating. “Eliminating all internet communications, even if only for a few days, would inflict huge economic costs,” says Thomas Hazlett, who served as chief economist of the Federal Communications Commission in the early 1990s. “Look at the economic damage wrought by the 9/11 attacks that closed Wall Street trading and cut off international flights in a large part of the world for about a week. Those losses are calculated to be over $120 billion.” The number one application of the internet is still email, and, given that it’s such a crucial piece of how we conduct business around the globe, we can expect a screeching halt in productivity on a grand scale. The major cell phone carriers use the internet for call routing and communications, so forget trying to phone your family or your friends. The credit cards in your wallet? Useless. The notion of an internet shutdown in a 21st-century context isn’t entirely farfetched. Think of any number of countries that block certain applications or turn off telecommunications services. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development estimated that if the internet had been shut off the whole year during the 2011 revolution in Egypt, close to 5 percent of the country’s $236 billion GDP would’ve been eliminated. And in a 2016 report, the Brookings Institution figured that internet shutdowns in 2015 amounted to $2.4 billion in economic losses…”

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