The citizens of Turkey suffered yet another blackout of Internet services. This time, the state blocked WhatsApp, Skype, YouTube and Twitter. There are reports of difficult access to other sites as well.
Turkey and Internet Freedom
On November 4, 2016, the censorship watchdog Turkey Blocks reported the blackout. The official story is that Turkey blocks access to social media sites after a PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) terrorist attack, but according to Turkey Blocks, the real reason behind the recent blackout is to censor a government crackdown on an opposition party.
Turkey’s Primer Minister Binali Yildirm released a statement to the press:
“These are temporary measures. Once the danger is passed, everything returns to normal.”
Turkey has employed similar censorship tactics in the past. Back in October, Google Drive and Dropbox were taken down due to a leaked list revealing Turkey’s secret troll army.
Online Freedom, Privacy, and The Man
Most of us are afraid of the cyber-criminal underworld. There are a lot of hackers who would scam people purely for financial gain. However, they’re not as powerful, or as threatening as some countries.
Blocking social media is harmful in its own right, but it’s not the worst thing a country can do. In Iran, people often prefer to utilize encrypted messaging apps like Telegram. Many mainstream apps, including Facebook’s Messenger include encryption, but that’s still not enough. Telegram was hacked resulting the leak of 15 million phone numbers.
The option for cooperation between states and social media sites is also open. Even if your data is locked by encryption, Facebook or other social media sites can still give away the keys to the government. The truth is that selling personal data is financially profitable and big corporations wouldn’t think twice about giving up that data if the price is right. The future of our privacy rights seems darker with each passing day.