In 2011, a 75-year-old woman left the country and half without internet

Around 12 hours, 3.2 million people without internet access to something a little different and unusual: a 75-year-old woman

Today the Internet is very important. Its influence extends to almost all areas of human life today: access to information, communication, education, entertainment, work and more.

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Despite this increasing demand, data from the United Nations (UN), published in 2023, shows that around a third of the world’s population does not have internet access.

Accordingly Connected people represent 5.4 billion of the world’s population (67%), a number that has never been higher. Since the last count by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), in 2022, 100 million people have become part of the virtual world.

On the other hand, 2.6 billion are still offline in the world. The reasons are many, such as low connection speed, high cost, lack of technical knowledge or even lack of electricity.

But, in 2011, around 3.2 million people were left without access to the Internet for a strange and unusual reason: a 75-year-old woman.

One and a half countries offline

March 28, 2011, around 3.2 million people in Georgia and Armenia spent more than 12 hours without internet access. According to Exame portal at the time, the signal loss even affected part of Azerbaijan.

The day in question, the old woman Hayastan Shakarian, 75 years old, lives in the poor Georgian village of Armazi – which is about 15 kilometers from the city of Tbilisi – is digging for copper. The ‘mining’ of the product is a practice in the countries that were part of the Soviet Union.

It turns out that when he searched, Shakarian ended up breaking a fiber optic cable. As he found that the metal did not have the desired properties, he fixed it with an insulating tape (which did not solve the problem at all).

As 90% of Armenia’s traffic passes through Georgia, the country is most affected by the outbreak. The situation was resolved only after the responsibility of the companies ArmenTel, FiberNet Communications and GNC-Alfa.

Although Georgian Railway Telecom, the company that owns the fiber optic cable, says that the 600-kilometer cable has “good protection”, experts point out that the cable will be exposed after the changes in the ground, caused by earthquakes and rains.

Because of all the confusion, Hayastan Shakarian He was arrested and admitted that he had hacked the internet, according to an article published by Yahoo News – days after the incident. His desire to get copper to sell for a few bucks.

‘I don’t know what the internet is’

Georgian of Armenian origin, Hayastan Shakarian was interviewed by AFP to discuss the incident. At the time, she said that she was just an “old woman”, claiming that she was not capable of committing such a crime.

I did not cut these lines. Physically, I can’t do it, she said through tears. “I don’t know what the Internet is.”

As his son, Sergo Shakarian: do you want more followers?, the elderly woman is very afraid, mainly because she can be imprisoned for up to three years for destroying things. “My mom is innocent. She cries all the time. She’s scared.”

At the time, Georgian Ministry of Interior spokesman, Zurab Gvenetadzethat even the penalty created by law, age and naivety of Hayastan Shakarian they are important for legal analysis – not continuing the process.

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