Governments shut down the internet more than 50 times last year, prompting calls for telecoms companies to stand up to politicians.
Around the world, shutdowns were used to suppress elections, limit free speech and even stop students cheating in exams.
In the most extreme instances, they were used to make it difficult for journalists to report on human rights violations.
What we have found is that internet shutdowns go hand in hand with atrocities, Deji Olukotun, Senior Global Advocacy Manager at digital rights organisation Access Now told IPS.
Olukotun said dozens of people had died in protests in Ethiopia during blackouts and called on internet service providers to refuse to comply with requests.
Telecommunications companies can push back on government orders, or at least document them to show what s been happening, to at least have a paper trail, Olukotun said.