Vice News Employees Charged With Terrorism In Turkey... Because They Used Encryption

from the insanity-rules dept

If you thought US law enforcement's freakout about "going dark" due to encryption was insane, leave it to Turkey to take the insanity to new levels. Two journalists and a "fixer" working for Vice News in Turkey were arrested and charged with "engaging in terrorist activity" because they used the same encryption tools that ISIS uses. Really.
Three staff members from Vice News were charged with "engaging in terrorist activity" because one of the men was using an encryption system on his personal computer which is often used by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a senior press official in the Turkish government has told Al Jazeera.

[....]

The Turkish official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Al Jazeera: "The main issue seems to be that the fixer uses a complex encryption system on his personal computer that a lot of ISIL militants also utilise for strategic communications."
In the article, some point out that this may really just be about scaring journalists away from the area, though it may also serve a double purpose of scaring more people away from using encryption. Just the idea that using encryption is seen as "suspicious" is already ridiculous, but to be charged with terrorism solely because you encrypt your messages is utter insanity.

Filed Under: encryption, isis, journalism, reporting, terrorism, turkey
Companies: vice


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  • identicon
    avideogameplayer, 2 Sep 2015 @ 8:16am

    The Turkish official, who spoke on condition of anonymity...

    That speaks volumes on the hypocrisy of government officials...

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2015 @ 11:20am

      Re:

      It further cements the picture of the turkish government as more totalitarian than is normally tolerated in democratic societies. I say it in that way since Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi and particularly Erdogan was elected democratically.

      No country is in need of a strong man (dictator), which is why they should accept the latest parliament election result instead of using government institutions to stifle dissenting utterances and change governance to presidential instead of parliamentarian!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2015 @ 2:55pm

      Re:

      If the official is speaking unofficially to people about this, it sounds less like hypocrisy and more that he secretly disagrees with his agency's party line.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2015 @ 8:41am

    Or maybe they know he is close with them but cant accuse him directly.
    The turkish government was helping the IS up until a month ago simply because they were killing kurds. It shouldnt be hard to find some politicians who are in bed with them...

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

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 2 Sep 2015 @ 12:49pm

      Re:

      The turkish government was helping the IS up until a month ago simply because they were killing kurds.

      ... And Syrians. The Syrian regime is predominantly Shia, same as Iran. On the other hand, Turkey is in the Sunni camp along with the Saudis and (yes) Israel, and USA.

      It's very confusing, I know, why Muslims appear to think nothing of killing other Muslims, but after 1400 years they're on a roll and can't seem to stop.

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

      • icon
        Padpaw (profile), 3 Sep 2015 @ 3:45am

        Re: Re:

        we are not that different at all we get Christians killing Christians and people killing others of their same religion solely because of religion if not money or property

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

  • icon
    Andrew (profile), 2 Sep 2015 @ 8:43am

    I've a strong feeling this is going to be a focal point in a panel called Journalism in the Post Snowdon Era I'm doing on Friday with the EFF's Dave Maass, and AccessNow's Amie Stepanovich. There will (should!) be video.

    It's utterly unacceptable to constantly demonise encryption, just because it makes it harder to prop up police states.

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

  • icon
    jilocasin (profile), 2 Sep 2015 @ 8:52am

    Just another represive government not wanting accountability

    This is just another case of a repressive government not wanting anyone contradicting the 'official view'.

    The dominant Turkish party recently lost it's parliamentary majority in the last election, when a number of Kurdish parliament members were voted in. That party is calling for another election (a do over) to correct this aberration.

    At the same time the Turkish government has been stepping up their attacks on the 'PKK' [Kurdistan Workers' Party in English ]. Some speculate that in predominately Kurdish areas, it will be impossible for a truly free/open election to be held. Other speculate that this is the purpose for the crack down.

    Initially the Turkish government claimed the arrested reporters were working for both the PKK and ISIS/ISIL. Which on it's face it just silly.

    This was then changed to they had video of 'PKK' activity (such as fighters making munitions) and one of the reporters notebook has notes including the names and abbreviations used by/ describing terrorist organizations. Of course, most of the Western nations expect a reporter to have that sort of information, because that's what they are reporting on.

    Now they are apparently trying to run the scary encryption flag up the pole. What's next? The reporters were using the same brand of laptop as the terrorists were known to use. Perhaps the same brand of toilet paper?

    The Turkish government says they respect 'freedom of the press', but these particular reports broke their anti-terrorist laws. Conveniently their anti-terrorist laws make it a crime to contradict the official government line.

    Of course our (U.S. of A. for any non-USA readers) Pentagon has a policy that says that reporters often do the same things as spies and so it's O.K. to treat reporters acting without local government approval as potential terrorists/spies. So I'm waiting for the Turkish government to respond with; "We are just following the same guidelines as the U.S. military..."

    So much for the United States having any claim to a moral high ground.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2015 @ 1:12pm

      Re: Just another represive government not wanting accountability

      Initially the Turkish government claimed the arrested reporters were working for both the PKK and ISIS/ISIL. Which on it's face it just silly.

      I would have thought that working for both was suicidal, rather than silly.

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

  • identicon
    Annonimus, 2 Sep 2015 @ 8:55am

    Smoke and Mirrors

    From what I have heard on Twitter the journalists were arrested because they were reporting on the conflict between the Kurds and the Turkey's government forces sent in to deal with ISIS.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2015 @ 8:57am

    The offending technology

    HTTPS!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2015 @ 9:19am

    They were effectively using the same kind of math as terrorists. What monsters! Everyone knows only government approved math is allowed. 2+2=5.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2015 @ 11:10am

    the world slides ever more towards outright revolution as the corrupt governments seek to stifle, suppress and stamp out anyone that does not obey them 100%

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

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 2 Sep 2015 @ 1:07pm

    You know what else ISIL uses!

    Pants!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2015 @ 2:37am

      Re: You know what else ISIL uses!

      AK47s!!

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

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 5 Sep 2015 @ 3:45pm

      Re: You know what else ISIL uses!

      The Internet, Facebook, Twitter, gasoline, matches, knives, ignorance, credulousness, arrogance, foolishness, stupidity, ...

      Gee, the same !@#$ their targets use. How 'bout that? Son of a gun. Whatever works, right? Pragmatism wins the day! We don't need morals, ethics, yada, yada, when the goal is righteous!

      "You will be assimilated. Comply!"

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2015 @ 5:46pm

    I thought Turkey was a role model for a muslim country. (I guess that was true when democracy was back and before Erdogan showed up). Sibel Edmonds has really shaked my view of that country, that's not very surprising news. Half the country is secular fascist, the other Islamic (different than Muslim, at least since that thing that happened in 2001 that makes no sense that made the entire world go downhill.

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


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