Is a VPN needed in Chad?
Chad, known for its arid landscapes and vital Lake Chad, faces complex challenges in its digital arena. While there are ongoing efforts to improve digital infrastructure, the country grapples with significant obstacles related to digital rights, internet freedom, and online privacy. The domestic landscape appears to be the main driver of policy, rather than international affiliations or standards.
Internet Censorship and Freedom
Amnesty International and other organizations have reported significant restrictions on civic spaces in Chad, characterized by prolonged internet shutdowns and arbitrary arrests. The government has been strategically disrupting the internet during politically sensitive times, such as protests and elections, summing up to almost two and a half years of internet disruptions since 2016. Additional information shows that privacy apps and encryption are blocked in the country along with social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, and Viber.
Peer-to-Peer Services and Torrenting
Information on Chad’s stance on P2P services and torrenting remains limited. Given the overarching climate of internet control, using these services cautiously is advised. No specific international or regional directives affecting Chad’s stance on P2P or torrenting have been identified.
Media Websites and Social Media Access
The government has ordered mobile operators to restrict access to various apps since March 2018 amid political and economic tensions. In addition to social media, news outlets like the BBC have also experienced blockages. Internet disruptions, both full and partial, have spanned a total of 911 days between the last presidential election in 2016 and 2021, severely affecting freedom of expression and access to information.
Data on Chad’s regulations and ISP behavior regarding net neutrality is limited. Given the extensive internet controls, there’s a possibility that net neutrality is not strictly upheld.
Chad has laws targeting cybercrime but lacks a comprehensive framework for data protection and digital rights. The influence of international standards is minimal in shaping the country’s digital policies.
Surveillance and Privacy
Though detailed information is lacking, the frequency of internet disruptions during politically sensitive periods suggests that government surveillance may be a concern. OONI has confirmed network measurement data showing the blockage of various apps and websites. For users concerned about digital privacy in Chad, using VPNs and other encrypted services is strongly recommended and practically necessary given the blocks on encryption and privacy apps.
Chad’s unique digital landscape is fraught with challenges around internet freedom and digital rights. The continuous internet disruptions, particularly during politically sensitive events, point towards a future where domestic policies will continue to heavily influence the digital realm. Privacy-protecting technologies are not just advisable but essential for users in Chad.