Contributor Nancy Landon suggests that governments will likely shut down the internet during a catastrophic zombie outbreak. Her theory being that, in order to avoid mass panic, a complete online communication blackout would be put in place.

There certainly are precedents for the government cutting off the flow of information to the  public. Two such examples in the United States come to mind:

  1. The practice of filming coffins returning from battle during the Vietnam War was a catalyst for the growing protest movement that ultimate led to the conflict’s end. Since then, press access to soldiers returning from war has been severely reduced, or blocked altogether.
  2. After Upton Sinclair’s scathing 1906 novel The Jungle caused a nationwide stir about the deplorable state of the meat packing industry, food processors have successfully lobbied the government for regulations that block the public from gaining access to their plants.

Every government on the planet attempts to control the flow of information across multiple channels on a daily basis, but the recent uprisings in the Middle East highlight how difficult that task can be.

Though blocking the web clearly isn’t as easy as flipping a switch, if the U.S. government already deems it in the national interest to prevent citizens from seeing what they eat and how they die, don’t be surprised if the end of the world is signaled by a failed connection notice on your home computer.

What do you think?


  1. this breifly touches on a very important issue. replace the word zombie with any martial law type event. it says blocking the web clearly isn’t as easy as flipping a switch, but i dont agree, we just havent reached that point yet. people need to be aware and prepared

  2. Internet killswitch

  3. Oh yeah a quick suggestion for those who are coming with computers and the Internet learn a few back doors to the Internet sat lines excetera. there is a big portion of the Internet not even open to you because you’re not familiar
    with the back doors. If you lean them they can’t keep you from the information.

  4. yes i think a government would try to black out an internet spread panic but any real techie buff would have access to a ham radio or fm broadcaster so going low tech is an answer.

  5. If there was a severe zombie outbreak, would there be power to maintain the internet in the first place? Even if you have your own generator, in the U.S. most servers are linked to power grids that are among the most unstable in the industrialized world. Maybe other governments would knock out the internet, but the U.S. wouldn’t have a chance.

  6. I would have thought mass panic could only be added to by a web blackout.

    • That’s exactly what I was thinking; people don’t react well when their network is down, apocalypse or no apocalypse. What’s going to happen when people’s internet is down for days and weeks, especially when the zombies show up on their doorstep? It won’t be good, that’s for sure.

    • I think that it will cause mass panic, but it wouldn’t be as tragic as if they don’t kill the internet. Because, if everybody knows that there is a zombie outbreak, there would be a lot of violent behaviors whereas if the population doesn’t know what is really happening there will be violence and demonstrations but no murders and robberies (at the beginning).

      So the question is to know if the government has to inform the population quickly (taking the risk to spread chaos) or to wait and block the information.

  7. It’s a very interesting thought. But it’s understandable that governments should want to prevent mass panic among the population by blocking the web. There are a lot of examples of how important internet can be and I’m sure that it will be increasingly important in the not-too-distant future but I’m not sure that governments will be able to have enough control of the internet.

    In fact, there is a great illustration of this thought in an excellent Spanish book (I don’t know if there is an English translation): Apocalpse Z by Manel Loureiro. In this book, the author insists on how important it has been for the different governments to block the more active blog to prevent the population from knowing what was happening in Dagesthan (where the zombie epidemic began in the story). But, in the book, the governments are not even able to control all the blogs (because of the location of the host) so it is the last source of information before the lights go out.

    There is something sure; in case of a zombie epidemic, the main blogs of USA and western countries will be blocked. But what about blogs with abroad hosts?

  8. I wouldn’t put it past any government to do this, even in times of peace.

    • Yeah, it’s sure that they don’t need a zombie epidemic to do so.

      But, as Matt Mogk says in his book “Everything you ever wanted to know about zombies”, what will be very tragic for the population is the mass panic. I mean that it will result in your nice neighbor John trying to kill you and your family just for your reserve of water. So, since the internet is the main source of information and the most difficult to control, the government will have to do its best to control the information about the epidemic so as to prevent the chaos in the country. During a zombie outbreak I think that is very important to calm down the population. So, if they do so, it’s to maintain peace.

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