Censorship & Surveillance of the Internet in Turkey - Extreme Law #5651

In Turkey, the law against cybercrime 2014 has been further tightened and since then it has caused some headaches: It further intensifies the already existing censorship and monitoring of the Internet. For example, last year, Wikipedia and even booking.com in Turkey were banned based on this law. Apparently on official order! We'll take a closer look at this incredible law #5651.

Blocked by government on 40.000 websites

Law #5651 was launched in the year 2007 and has the goal of protecting personal rights - said the Turkish government. But the mere fact that it has already been condemned by the European Court of Human Rights (due to a massive blocking of Google pages) and is also the subject of much controversy in the media, speaks for itself. The law simply allows the government to block websites with, but also without, court orders. The website Engelliweb.com, which tries to count the locks, reports about 40.000 blocked websites in Turkey. But this number is probably much higher in reality ... Official information does not exist, because the responsible government agency TIB refuses to surrender.

Efforts to pass the law change began at the beginning of 2014, after the corruption records of Turkish ministers and officials reached the Internet. This was followed by a large-scale corruption investigation, which forced four ministers to resign. As a countermeasure to the publication of the documents, the government declared the new law to be legitimate in order to protect the "honor of individuals" against defamation on the Internet. Of course, that suited the rest quite well in the junk ...

Let's take a look at the law - what are the real reasons for concern?

  • The articles of the law are absorbed by a law that is wholly unrelated to it, namely: "The Organization and Responsibilities of the Ministry of Family and Social Policy". It seems that the government is trying to enforce legislation that brings the Internet completely under its control
  • It is significant that prior to the submission of the bill, which included extremely technical articles, the relevant NGOs were not consulted.
  • The extreme zeal and hurry in the preparation of the law and its rapid release leave little doubt that it is a response to corruption.
  • The new law works with URL-based locks rather than the previous IP-based ones. The goal behind it seems to be the blocking of individual materials like corruption videos on Youtube instead of blocking the whole Youtube site. The government agency entrusted with cybersecurity wanted to block the corruption allegations on Youtube, Vimeo and Soundcloud before the new law was passed and thus legal. What's more, such materials were still readily available to government opposition opponents on Internet platforms.
  • Since the beginning of 2014, TIB has been run by a former Secret Service official. The new law provided for a substantial increase in staff. This enabled the ministry to further expand its role as a monitoring and censorship power. In addition to blocking websites, TIB is also responsible for tapping phones.
  • According to the new law, TIP officials may only be prosecuted if their supervisor allows this. In principle, the officials are actually immune to criminal prosecution.
  • The law stipulates that ISPs must keep all their user 2-3 Internet logs for years - instead of just 12 months as before. This further limits the privacy of the users.
  • TIB unofficially demands that the ISPs implement the Deep Packet Inspection system for blocking and monitoring. Of course, this does not suit the ISPs, because they clearly have to bear the costs and, as a result, logically pass these on to the users. In other words, the Turkish Internet users pay for their own surveillance ...

A very violent law, right? Since we can be glad that we have to fight here in terms of privacy and privacy with not so extreme state control.

Created on:04/09/2018

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