A few days ago, we reported on how Turkish ISPs were actively restricting access to social media platforms and other websites. At that time, using Tor or VPN software was a quick and convenient way to bypass this blockade. It looks as if the government has forced ISPs to restrict access to those networks as well, effectively censoring the entire country during the ongoing protests.
Turkey Is Taking Things Several Steps Too Far
Introducing artificial Internet blockades is nothing more than a glorified way of enforcing complete censorship in a region. While this concept is nothing new in Turkey, the steps taken by the government and local Internet service providers raise a lot of questions. Moreover, they set a very dangerous precedent for other countries moving forward.
Blocking popular social messaging platforms and communication tools is not the smartest decision ever made by the Turkish government. However, blocking users for VPN and Tor access is a new step in the wrong direction. In most cases, Internet users find a way to circumvent these blockades, but that has become a lot more complicated all of a sudden.
Among the services being blocked are Hotspot Shield, TunnelBear, Vypr, and Express VPN. Other providers are faced with similar issues, although it remains unknown if manually changing DNS servers on the computer still work. Relying on Tor is out of the question as well, since access to the platform and the browser has been shut down entirely. That situation may change at any given time, though.
It is evident that Turkey is not a happy place right now, nor will it be in the foreseeable future. After various political members of HDP had been arrested on Friday, many people took to the streets in public protest. This civil unrest forced the government to block access to multiple online tools, including WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook, and Twitter.
Keeping in mind how these types of Internet blockades are slowly becoming the new norm in Turkey, it remains to be seen how these decisions will play out. There should be a lot more public outcry in other countries over this ruling, as it is setting a very bad and dangerous example. Oppressing the voice of the public should never be an option to begin with.
Circumventing the blockade is very difficult right now, although crafty Internet users will come up with a solution sooner or later. It would be better if the unrest quieted down in Turkey, but that will be difficult to achieve with a dictator in the seat of power. These are very troublesome times for Turkish residents, that much is certain.
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