Starting Thursday, 11:07PM local time in Turkey, internet users started reporting that Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter had been blocked. Internet users in Turkey were forced to use a VPN to access their social media accounts. The government has started to tighten access to VPNs as well. Unfortunately, PayPal was denied a financial license renewal by the Turkish government and has withdrawn from Turkey. Bitcoin is now the best way for Turkish netizens to buy goods and services securely. The incident, the second attempt by Turkey to block access to Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter this month, reminds us that Turkey’s handful of Internet service providers (ISPs) work with the government to shut down access to parts of the Internet whenever it is deemed necessary. The ISPs then throttle traffic to and from target websites until they are unusable.
Like many other oppressive regimes, the Turkish government has direct control or influence over the actions of the country’s internet service providers and telecommunication companies. Turkey is regressing. For example, In Jammu and Kashmir in India, the internet killswitch is used on more websites than just Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter. An internet watchdog group in Turkey, Turkey Blocks, believes that a new law in Turkey is being used which allows the military to bypass the Ministry of Communications to use the country’s Internet killswitch in times of national security emergencies. This internet killswitch is now being used with more frequency and with less provocation. Turkey’s government has not, and likely will not, make any official explanation for the block; the block subsided 7 hours after it started.
Twitter users from Turkey use a VPN to bypass internet censorship
Yes, both Facebook and Twitter seem to be blocked in Turkey once more. Anyone know why?
TT @handekuday: Our generation's gas lamp is VPN.
— Ankaralı Jan (@06JAnk) August 25, 2016
Social media websites Twitter, Facebook and Youtube is down in #Turkey. No explanation(s) made on it yet.
— Aylina Kılıç (@AylinaKilic) August 25, 2016
Twitter and Facebook are both blocked in Turkey. Always a good sign.
— Ali Arikan (@aliarikan) August 25, 2016
This is a clear example of open internet censorship and ignoring its occurrence and reoccurrence allows it to become the new norm. Turkey does this kind of internet censorship all the time. During the July 15 coup, the Turkish government shutdown access to the same three websites. Last week, an explosion in Gaziantep also led to Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter being blocked.
— Turkey Blocks (@TurkeyBlocks) August 20, 2016
This week’s episode of unwarranted internet censorship likely stems from a suicide bombing in Cizre, Turkey.
Eventually, Turkey’s Internet killswitch will be broken
An internet killswitch is always a bad idea. Some pundits around the world argue in favor of a government controlled internet killswitch. The world’s governments will always be able to find talking heads that will support their factually wrong view. Just look at the commentary surrounding the “golden key” to breaking strong encryption. Broken has so many meanings.
Meshnet technology is key to solving this problem. Imagine a world where the “main net” or “mainnet” has a regularly archived backup that is served by volunteers running nodes on your local meshnet? The future is coming, and there is no room for Internet censorship.