In the months leading up to the current protests in Turkey, its government has been censoring content on Twitter and Facebook, as well as throttling and blocking access to them, claim sources inside of the country.
After having successfully censored the majority of the television channels that can be seen in Turkey, the government is aiming its sights agains social networks again. The escalating protests have spurred the country’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to demonize Twitter and social media in general as a “menace to society. ”
Turkish Internet users are anticipating increased censorship and surveillance efforts by the government, and have begun arming themselves with tools to foil them.
Anchorfree, the makers of the Hotspot Shield mobile app that allows users to use an untappable virtual private network to connect to sites that are censored by the local government, have said that more than 120,000 users from Turkey have downloaded the app over the weekend.
More and more users are turning to Twitter to get the latest news about the protests, and to apps such as Zello and Ustream to communicate in short distances and record and broadcast videos.
But according to The Guardian, real-time global Internet monitoring company Renesys claims that the Turkish government is currently not blocking its citizens from connecting to any social networking sites on a national level. Still, they admit that it could be happening on a local level.
Unfortunately, the government is well equipped for censorship efforts. Not only did it make all Internet traffic travel through one telecom’s (Turk Telecom) systems, but it also instituted a government body that can decide what Internet content to block and what not to block, without having to answer to or get permission from a court of law.