Turkey turns to anonymity networks

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The Turkish Prime Minister closed down Twitter and YouTube and threatened to close Facebook, notes David Manners. Just as there is debate about how much surveillance of citizens should be permitted, so there should be a debate about whether constitutional curbs should be put on politicians that will make it impossible, or very difficult, for them to arbitrarily close web sites.

This Turkish thing could be a bit of a bellwether.

After 11 years in power a Prime Minister past his sell-by date has closed down Twitter and YouTube and threatened to close Facebook.

Even the Turkish President said the PM’s action on Twitter was “unacceptable”.

With elections on Sunday which will decide who rules Ankara, the PM doesn’t want media sites operating which have carried messages hostile to his party.

The Turkish courts have now ordered the re-opening of Twitter which is a credit to the effective working of the Turkish Constitution.

While many Turks circumvented the ban by tweeting via mobile phone text services, by using VPNs, and through the Tor anonymising network.

But the YouTube ban remains in force in Turkey and Facebook is under threat.

That governments can do this is a major threat to freedom because we are increasingly becoming dependent on web-sites for news and information.

Constitutions in decent countries guarantee their citizens freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, equality under the law etc.

Just as there is debate about how much surveillance of citizens should be permitted, so there should be a debate about whether Constitutional curbs should be put on politicians which will make it impossible, or very difficult, for them to arbitrarily close web sites.

Tags: Facebook, surveillance, twitter

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