OneDrive, Google Drive, GitHub and Dropbox were blocked by the government in Turkey in an attempt to censor a database put online by the communist hacking group RedHack. The data dump is rumored to contain information about Turkey’s Twitter troll army; trolls hired to spread pro-government propaganda on Twitter. This theory remains unconfirmed as of now.
Turkey and Government Sponsored Trolls
Government trolls or Web brigades are groups hired by governments to spread misinformation in forums, comment sections, and social media sites. The goal is to pollute Internet discussion and smear opposing Internet users. Many countries are rumored to employ this tactic, but Russia is notorious for it.
No country has officially acknowledged the usage of Internet brigades. The data dump released by RedHack reportedly includes information about government sponsored trolls employed by Turkey. The data was stolen from emails used by the Turkish Energy Minister Berat Albayrak. The dump was around 17 GB in size.
Google has complied with the Turkish government and deleted the controversial data from their servers. The service was unblocked in the country. Users are also reporting that Dropbox is now online. We can assume that they have also deleted the sensitive information.
Censorship and Government Involvement
Internet freedom is getting more limited by the day. Turkey’s blocking of certain sites isn’t only damaging to the country’s image, but it also had negative effects on its industry. A lot of businesses, especially in the IT sphere depend on using file-sharing services like Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, and GitHub. The blocking of these sites was violated the Internet rights of Turkey’s citizens. The Turkish government tried to cover up questionable activities with yet more shady activities.
Our bet is that the entire blocking will fail completely. Once data gets online, it’s hard to remove it completely. Turkey’s attempts are going to end up being futile in the end. The only thing that they’ll achieve is irritating their citizens. Thousands of Turkish people that aren’t involved in the data leak suffer because of the downed services.
Government involvement in the cyberspace is only going to get deeper. Yahoo blamed the massive hack oof their site on a government sponsored group. We should also remember the giant levels of surveillance reported by Edward Snowden. The public outcry wasn’t nearly as big as it should have been. Sadly, people are starting to get used to the rapid fall in Internet freedom.