The internet is a global force to be reckoned with. It has no borders, exists outside of laws, and provides instant access to any content you can imagine. As the internet grows, so does worry. There is worry of censorship. There is worry of illegal activities. There is worry of misinformation. Some countries ban the internet in part or in whole. Some countries restrict users or monitor their activities. In the country of Turkey, there has recently been controversy over internet censorship and media privileges.
What Is Happening?
In 2018, the Turkish parliament passed a law known as RTÜK, which regulates internet services. Part of the law is aimed at requiring streaming media services and online video companies to apply for a specific license before they can broadcast to Turkish users. Prior to all of this, the Turkish government has been notorious for blocking internet content from services such as Facebook, Wikipedia, Twitter, and others. There are approximately 43 million internet users in Turkey who do not have access to the entire internet. Streaming services that do not comply with the new regulations within 30 days will be banned from providing their services in Turkey. While this move was approved last year, the regulation has since been put into action and was posted in Turkey’s Official Gazette last week.
Why the Censorship?
In 2015, the now Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey, Lutfi Elvan, noted that there were privacy concerns for Turkish citizens. When we think of all of the data breaches and incidents of cybercrime occurring in the western world, we can somewhat empathize with Elvan’s concern. But in the western world, we value limited government intervention, and the right to privacy extends to our ability to view what we want on the internet without the government acting as a regulator. Having the safety of citizens in mind can clash with regulations that limit a streaming service’s broadcast license or the totality of the internet.
The president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has used the government’s power as a regulator to block news and information that might challenge the current political party. As of now, even media outlets such as Netflix have to apply for approval, and they are not allowed to make all of their content available to Turkish citizens.
Safety vs. Freedom
Many westerners don’t really know what it’s like to face this kind of regulation. We are free to view what we want and make up our own minds. Granted, this opens the floodgates for crimes such as identity theft, credit card fraud, hacking, and other forms of cybercrime. While there are risks you take when going on the internet, there are also precautions you can take to prevent the types of cybercrime from which the Turkish government claims they are protecting their citizens.
Simple measures such as securing your passwords, using a VPN, installing anti-virus software and keeping it updated, and not responding to phishing emails can all help keep you safe and secure. Countries such as North Korea, Singapore, Russia, China, and of course Turkey are enacting practices that censor the internet.
At Secure Forensics, we provide services that promote cybersecurity such as data breach response, malware removal, and mobile phone and computer forensics. Our line of SecureDrives offers total encryption to keep all of your digital files and personally identifiable information safe and secure. The key to privacy is consumers using safe online practices and utilizing proper digital storage. If you would like to know more, you can call us at 1-800-388-1266.