Turkey Passes New Net Censorship And Surveillance Laws; West No Longer In A Position To Criticize

from the awkward dept

Last week we discussed the Turkish government's bizarre campaign about the supposed "problems" of online freedom. Maybe this was an attempt to blunt criticism of its new online censorship law, which has just been passed by the Turkish parliament, as the Wall Street Journal reports:

The law, which must be approved by President Abdullah Gul to take effect, will allow the Presidency of Telecommunication and Communication, or TIB, to block access to Internet sites within four hours of receiving complaints about privacy violations. Turkey's web hosts will also have to store all traffic information for up to two years, according to the measure adopted as part of a legislative package.
That is, not only does it bring in harsh and swift online censorship, but requires online surveillance too. As the Guardian points out, this makes a bad situation worse:
Censorship and a very tight control of the internet are already a reality in Turkey. According to Engelliweb.com, around 40,500 websites were blocked in Turkey by the beginning of February -- 10,000 more than in April last year. The latest Freedom of the Net report published by Freedom House describes the Turkish internet as "partially free".
Despite that, Turkey's deputy prime minister, Bülent Arınç, is quoted as saying:
"We are freer and have more press freedom than many other countries in the world," he said.
The sad thing is, he may be right. Now that Western countries have lost the moral high ground when it comes to censoring Web sites and carrying out blanket surveillance, others plainly feel they have a free hand to bring in even more repressive laws clamping down on Internet freedom. Turkey's move is just the latest in a growing series.

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Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 4:14pm

    i cant think of the two nations that started this in so-called democracies, can you? the next thing is we'll have another bloody world war on our hands brought about by the mindless idiots in various governments who think the most important thing is spying on everyone, rather than actually keeping them in a democracy. how damn ridiculous! and yet again, it wont be the fuckers that have caused it that get punished or even hurt! that bit will be expected of the ordinary people, the very ones that these governments have been trying to rule totally!
    the one thing that Erdagon is doing, is kicking himself in the bollocks as far as joining the EU is concerned. i very much doubt they will let him in with these rules in place. if they do, then the rest of the EU will have to follow and then basically, there will be no such thing as democracy at all!!

     

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  2. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 4:19pm

    Techdirt fanboys should criticize! It's censorship week right here.

    Geez, if they had bigger buttons, they'd be dangerous.

    IS the same principle kids: you just don't want some opinions out, so suppress as much as you can.

    Mike's fanboy-trolls imitate him by taking no position except the pejorative. (32 of 203)

    12:19:33[n-362-6]

     

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  3. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 4:20pm

    Techdirt fanboys should criticize! It's censorship week right here.

    Geez, if they had bigger buttons, they'd be dangerous.

    IS the same principle kids: you just don't want some opinions out, so suppress as much as you can.

    Mike's fanboy-trolls imitate him by taking no position except the pejorative. (32 of 203)

    12:19:33[n-362-6]

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    kenichi tanaka (profile), Feb 6th, 2014 @ 4:21pm

    Maybe these various countries are trying to outdo each other to see who can pass the more restrictive laws ever. So much for basic human and civil rights. If someone talks about human rights, censor them; if someone talks about civil or constitutional rights, lock them up in jail. The United States is already there and it appears other countries are now following suit.

    Soon, this entire planet won't be made up of communities, each country will be a statewide or countrywide prison system.

     

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  5. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 4:22pm

    Techdirt fanboys should criticize! It's censorship week right here.

    Same principle. You're being trained that it's okay to censor some opinion...

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 4:32pm

    Team NSA: Destroying Trust Since It's Birth.

     

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  7. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 4:39pm

    Techdirt fanboys should talk! It's censorship week here!

    Yup, same principle, kids. Just don't want some opinions out.

    Mike has banned two IPs now, so I'm playing whack-a-mole!

    Enjoy your walled garden, and all the sour grapes in it!

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 4:40pm

    If you are a foreigner visitng Turkey, you can set up a VPN on your own PC before leaving home and log into that, while in Turkey.

    If you are on a something like Comcast Business, you could still get high speed, when logging in to your machine.

    The only thing the authoritis in Turkey will see is that you are making an encrypted connection to your cable modem back home in the U.S., and will not be able to determine what you are doing.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 4:58pm

    Turkey. Was there any country more appropriately named?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 5:11pm

    Re:

    Central African Republic?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 5:21pm

    Re: Re:

    I think nowadays they call that Detroit. Or maybe Compton.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Just Sayin', Feb 6th, 2014 @ 5:51pm

    slam, slam, slam

    The title of the piece says it all... you really aren't worried about "censorship" in Turkey, as much as the theory that the west cannot criticize. Slam, slam, slam, that is the real intent.

    Now, here's some news for you. The west does not censor news sites. They don't limit access to the internet in general. They don't block opposing views, or force opposition websites to shut down. More importantly, they don't put their opposition in prison, torture them, or kill them.

    Clearly, you don't know what real censorship is. What happens in the west is that someone takes away your favorite toy (torrent site of the day) and you toss all your other toys out of the pram in a fit of rage.

    Free speech doesn't mean "any speech, no matter it's legality". Many forms of speech and expression are NOT protected, even in the US. However, much of the speech that would be protected in the US (and most of us would "die" for ) is the sort of thing that many countries block and censor.

    When the west starts to approach that level, you will have some basis for a slam. In the meantime, stop trying so hard to look for a slam, it makes your point look very weak.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 5:59pm

    Coming soon to the UKô!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 7th, 2014 @ 12:20am

    Re:

    Democratic Republic of the Congo
    aka do whatever you want noone cares

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 7th, 2014 @ 2:08am

    when any government, in any country, votes in laws that allow total surveillance on it's own people and starts censorship of any kind, regardless of the piss poor reasons, it is for nothing other than preventing the people from being able to communicate with those out side the country, prevent those outside the country communicating inwardly and stopping things that the government itself wants kept from the people, usually something it has been up to, which shows gross incompetence or personal gain from a situation, things of that nature. it is definitely not for the reasons used, as they are simply smoke screens. Cameron in the UK tried to shut down the 'blackberry network' during the London riots a couple of years ago. what the UK censorship is starting something that will allow the government to prevent organised rebellion against things the government has or is doing that the people dont want. in other words, Cameron has turned a democratic country, one that was the envy of the world for hundreds of years into one resembling nations that have been fought against for doing those very things. funny how everything that has been right, that a country has been built on can be thrown away by the stroke of the pen!!

     

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  16.  
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    Ninja (profile), Feb 7th, 2014 @ 6:02am

    "We are freer and have more press freedom than many other countries in the world," he said.

    This is no reason to try to level down...

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Erik Grant, Feb 7th, 2014 @ 6:58am


    Now that Western countries have lost the moral high ground when it comes to censoring Web sites and carrying out blanket surveillance, others plainly feel they have a free hand to bring in even more repressive laws clamping down on Internet freedom. Turkey's move is just the latest in a growing series.


    I am 100% positive that our privacy revelations had zero impact on Turkish laws. They might call us hypocrites if we criticize them now, but this was the direction they were always going to go. It's not like most countries in the middle east hold the U.S. up as a shining model for behavior and governance.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Unknown Crusader, Feb 7th, 2014 @ 7:15am

    Bow a man's head quickly, and he will fight against you. Bow a man's head slowly, and by the time he realizes his head is bowed, it will be too late. We the people of the United States and all other countries MUST NOT ALLOW ANY infringement of our civil rights, lest those infringements become ever so bigger until we live in a police state.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    rapnel, Feb 7th, 2014 @ 7:57am

    I Reckon

    I reckon it's about that time when governments across the globe realize that they are at risk, real risk, that the governed will, at long last, rule. We are only breaching that surface and the real actions, as opposed to this petty and invasive bullshit security, for the children and my copyrights, and my leverage, can only get nasty.

    So now, essentially, Turkey antes up and joins the spearhead of oppression. Welcome to the show. Pick a seat. There are plenty of seats to choose from but they should be filling up quickly.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 7th, 2014 @ 8:54am

    Thank the "top" spy agencies for starting this race to the bottom by nations looking to imitate, instead of inovate into protecting the individual right, instead of destroying it..............

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 7th, 2014 @ 11:42am

    Looks like the Turkish people will be at a severe disadvantage when it comes to accessing knowledge and education. This puts Turkey as a country, at a sever disadvantage to more open, knowledge based societies.

    I suppose the Turkish leadership, is fine ruling over a back-woods country with waning global influence in the world.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 7th, 2014 @ 9:18pm

    Re:

    Well of course, never underestimate the evil of backward leaders trying to keep control of their small pond, how they will hold them back rather than let them gain control over their destiny.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2014 @ 9:38pm

    Re: slam, slam, slam

    horse with no name just hates it when due process is enforced.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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