TAG | Turkey
Several days after the Turkish Constitutional Court ruled the blocking of YouTube to be unconstitutional, it looks like the block has been removed.
YouTube said that they are getting reports from users that they are once again able to access the site. YouTube was blocked since May 2008.
Long after the blocking of Twitter was ruled unconstitutional, they have similarly ruled that blocking YouTube over the last two months was similarly unconstitutional. The formal ruling and orders to remove the blocking should be forthcoming soon.
This decision by the country’s top court bolsters rulings by lower courts which have been ignored by the government of Prime Minister Erdogan.
All this censorship is an attempt to suppress criticism of the government generally and Erdogan and his allies specifically.
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Yesterday the Turkish Constitutional Court ruled that the blocking of Twitter violated the guarantees of free speech in the Turkish Constitution.
The government appears to have acted quickly to remove the blocks on Twitter’s IP addresses as well as the changes to DNS as ordered.
Celebratory tweets are gushing out over the wires.
In their continuing effort to suppress discussion of corruption in the Turkish government, they have extended their censorship efforts from blocking Twitter to blocking Youtube. This appears to be in response to Google’s refusal to remove “offending” videos.
Reports suggest that the blocking is not completely effective. If you are in Turkey and being blocked, Anonymizer Universal is able to bypass the censorship. Our two week trial provides a quick solution.
Turkey has taken their censorship of Twitter to the next level.
Initial blocking was done through DNS, so it could be easily bypassed by using something like Google DNS at 220.127.116.11.
Turkey quickly responded to the masses of people using that workaround, and are now blocking Twitter by IP address.
As one often sees with attempts at censorship, this one was counter productive. It looks like tweets from Turkey actually increased 138% following the DNS block.
Now that the censorship is IP based, a VPN like Anonymizer Universal will be required to continue to access Twitter and any other services that may be blocked.
We continue to test that service from within Turkey, and it looks to be working well.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan announced that the courts have ordered Twitter be blocked completely.
This appears to be in response to Twitter refusing to take down tweets of audio recordings purporting to be of Erdoğan engaging in corrupt activities.
Twitter is suggesting that users fall back to an SMS interface to continue to access the service. I suspect most active Twitter users follow enough people that the feed would overwhelm their SMS plans completely.
A better solution is to use a VPN like Anonymizer Universal to punch a hole through the censorship. Through Anonymizer you would then be able to access Twitter, or any other website the Turkish government might be trying to block.
Update: We have re-confirmed that Anonymizer is still accessible and working from Turkey.
The law also requires web hosts to store all traffic information for two years. While the putative purpose of the legislation is privacy protection, it is widely assumed that this is an attempt to grab more control of the Internet, which has been repeatedly blasted by the Turkish government reporting on government corruption and graft.
As usual with these attempts at censorship, interested citizens can generally get around them. VPNs like Anonymizer Universal allow anyone to punch a hole through the national censorship firewalls to access any content.
I would be very interested to hear about efforts to block tools like Anonymizer in countries enforcing Internet censorship, like Turkey and the UK. Blocking of circumvention tools is already well documented in both China and Iran, and has been seen sporadically in many other countries.
Turkey already requests more takedowns from Google than any other country in the world, almost 1700 in the first half of 2013. They have a history of blocking popular websites like Youtube, and Vimeo, and Prime Minister Erdogan lashes out against Twitter at every opportunity.
Now the government is about to enact sweeping new powers to force providers to keep complete records of all user activity for 2 years, and give the government total access to that information.
This appears to be a reaction to citizen use of social media to coordinate protests and spread information about Turkish government corruption.
Unless they implement a ban on privacy technologies, VPN services like Anonymizer Universal will provide a way of getting around this kind of logging. I would strongly suggest that people in Turkey make a habit of always using VPNs, and moving to search engines, email, and social media platforms located outside of the country.