UN warns Turkey's Internet law may break rights rules

Feb 14, 2014
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of parliament in Ankara on February 11, 2014

A new Internet control law in Turkey that has sparked outrage both at home and abroad could breach international human rights rules, the United Nations warned Friday.

"The law as it stands appears to be incompatible with Turkey's international human rights obligations, in particular those related to freedom of expression and the right to privacy," said Rupert Colville, spokesman for the UN high commissioner for human rights.

"The same rights that people have offline must also be protected online," he told reporters.

Turkey's opposition and several have urged the country's president, Abdullah Gul, not to approve the new curbs adopted by parliament last week that would enable authorities to block web pages deemed insulting or as invading privacy.

The rules would also require Internet service providers to store data on web users' activities for two years and make it available to the authorities upon request without a judicial order, Colville said.

In addition, Internet service providers face severe penalties if they fail to remove content deemed to be illegal, he said.

Gul, who has two weeks to sign the new rules into law, on Thursday said he was trying to iron out problems.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other defenders of the law insist that the new restrictions protect individual rights, but critics argue that they are a fresh assault on freedom of expression.

Some of Erdogan's critics also say the legislation is specifically aimed at stopping evidence of high-level corruption—implicating several government allies—being seen online.

Colville noted that the planned rules came on top of legislation enacted in May 2007 that placed broad restrictions on the Internet.

"Since the law came into force, approximately 37,000 websites have reportedly been denied operation by court orders and administrative blocking orders," he said.

Explore further: Turkish president aims to fix problems with Internet law

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Alarm over 'Big Brother' Turkish Internet curbs

Feb 06, 2014

Turkey drew fire Thursday over new Internet curbs portrayed as protecting privacy and the young but which critics say will stifle free speech and accelerate a slide towards authoritarianism.

'Orwellian' Internet curbs go before Turkish parliament

Feb 05, 2014

Turkish MPs will debate Wednesday new Internet legislation portrayed by the government as shielding the young from dangerous material but which critics say is a further erosion of personal freedom in the ...

Recommended for you

UN moves to strengthen digital privacy (Update)

Nov 25, 2014

The United Nations on Tuesday adopted a resolution on protecting digital privacy that for the first time urged governments to offer redress to citizens targeted by mass surveillance.

Spotify turns up volume as losses fall

Nov 25, 2014

The world's biggest music streaming service, Spotify, announced Tuesday its revenue grew by 74 percent in 2013 while net losses shrank by one third, in a year of spectacular expansion.

Virtual money and user's identity

Nov 25, 2014

Bitcoin is the new money: minted and exchanged on the Internet. Faster and cheaper than a bank, the service is attracting attention from all over the world. But a big question remains: are the transactions ...

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.