Turkey seeks to curb Internet freedom

Jan 09, 2014
A woman uses a mobile phone to read the news on social media at a midnight demonstration in Taksim Gezi Park on June 13, 2013

The Turkish government has moved to impose strict controls on the Internet by monitoring the activities of online users and blocking certain keywords, a parliamentary source said on Thursday.

The proposals are contained in a bill submitted to parliament by Turkey's family and social policy ministry and are the latest in a string of government moves testing freedom of expression in the aspiring EU member state.

The draft legislation will allow the authorities to block keywords deemed problematic and limit access to video-sharing websites that include them, the source said.

It will allow officials to keep a record of all activities of Internet users for two years and monitor which websites they have visited, which keywords they have searched for and their activities on .

"The draft bill is designed to 'protect the family, children and youth from items on the Internet that encourage drug addiction, sexual abuse and suicide," Hurriyet newspaper said.

In December, Google released data showing that Turkey topped the Internet giant's content removal request list.

But the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) rejected comparisons with China, which is notorious for its Internet censorship.

"Turkey is not China and will never be like China in this manner," party spokesman Huseyin Celik told reporters on Tuesday.

People in an internet cafe in Istanbul on September 3, 2009

"Aren't we all in agreement on having some laws about social media and Internet media? There can be regulations based on world standards anywhere in the world," he said.

In 2010, Turkey lifted a ban on YouTube, two years after a court blocked access to the website because of videos deemed insulting to the country's founder.

During the mass anti-government protests in June, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Twitter "a menace", denouncing protesters who turned to for information on the unrest.

In December, the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists described Turkey as the world's number one jailer of journalists for the second straight year, ahead of Iran and China.

Explore further: Digital dilemma: How will US respond to Sony hack?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

China pays two million to monitor Internet

Oct 06, 2013

China is employing two million people to keep tabs on people's Internet use, according to state media, in a rare glimpse into the secret world of Beijing's vast online surveillance operation.

Turkey probes social network 'insults'

Jun 27, 2013

(AP)—Turkish authorities are investigating people who allegedly insulted state officials or incited riots on social media, the deputy prime minister said Thursday, in a sign the government is intent on ...

Turkey tightens Internet control in YouTube feud

Jun 25, 2010

(AP) -- Furious over Internet insults of the country's beloved founder, Turkey has gone on the offensive against Google, tightening a ban on YouTube and cutting public access to a host of Google-owned sites.

Turkey 'arrests 32' in raid on hacker group

Jun 14, 2011

Turkish police have arrested 32 people suspected of belonging to a cabal of hackers who sabatoged government websites to protest against Internet censorship, the Anatolia news agency reported on Tuesday.

Recommended for you

Digital dilemma: How will US respond to Sony hack?

Dec 18, 2014

The detective work blaming North Korea for the Sony hacker break-in appears so far to be largely circumstantial, The Associated Press has learned. The dramatic conclusion of a Korean role is based on subtle ...

UN General Assembly OKs digital privacy resolution

Dec 18, 2014

The U.N. General Assembly has approved a resolution demanding better digital privacy protections for people around the world, another response to Edward Snowden's revelations about U.S. government spying.

Online privacy to remain thorny issue: survey

Dec 18, 2014

Online privacy will remain a thorny issue over the next decade, without a widely accepted system that balances user rights and personal data collection, a survey of experts showed Thursday.

Spain: Google News vanishes amid 'Google Tax' spat

Dec 16, 2014

Google on Tuesday followed through with a pledge to shut down Google News in Spain in reaction to a Spanish law requiring news publishers to receive payment for content even if they are willing to give it away.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.