Turkey launches Internet filtering scheme

By EDRi · November 30, 2011

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Deutsch: [Türkei führt Internetfilter ein | https://www.unwatched.org/EDRigram_9.23_Tuerkei_fuehrt_Internetfilter_ein?pk_campaign=edri&pk_kwd=20111130]

Turkish Information Technologies and Communications Authority (BTK) launched
the Internet safety scheme on 22 November 2011, as planned, but on a
voluntary basis, following the fierce criticism and opposition to the
original plans to introduce a mandatory filtering system.

Internet users may sign up with their ISPs for the free of charge filtering
system which blocks “objectionable content”, being able to choose from three
variants: child, family and domestic. When an Internet user wants to choose
one of the filtering variants, BTK issues a new user name and password
enabling the user’s access to the chosen filtering system. The users who
want to stop using the Internet filtering can change back to a standard
no-filter profile.

Although voluntary, the system still raises concerns, one of them being the
supervision of the system by a new committee called Child and Family
Profiles Criteria Working Committee which, in the opinion of law professor
Yaman Akdeniz of Bilgi University in Istanbul “… does not look independent
nor impartial.” The professor also believes that the state authorities may
be in the position to impose moral values.

More worrying is the fact that the filter blocks not only adult content, but
some 130 search terms, including “separatist” content from the PKK and
Kurdish rights groups. “I also believe that the Turkish authorities are not
only trying to protect children but also adults from the ‘so called harmful
content ‘,” said Akdeniz.

Moreover, as frequently proven by liberty activists and IT experts,
filtering is not a real solution to solve real Internet threats to children.
Filters are easy to circumvent, costly and, in most of the case, can lead to
blocking innocent content in the process.

State censorship can be easily masked by apparently justified reasons such
as threats to family and children. Under the cover of protecting children,
governments may try to include political censorship by including on the
filtering list words that relate more to political criticism and opposition
than to child pornography or terrorism.

This Week in Internet Censorship: Opaque Censorship in Turkey, Russia, and
Britain (23.11.2011)

New Internet filtering system available after 3-month test period

EDRigram: Turkey postpones its Internet filtering plans (24.08.2011)