Turkey widens Internet censorship
ISTANBULThe government has closed one of the most popular backdoors that Turks have been using to circumvent the blocking of Twitter.
Twitter had expressed hope that full access to the website would be returned soon, after a lawyer representing the microblogging platform met with the authorities in Ankara on March 21.
Instead, the Turkish government tightened the circle early on March 22 by blocking access to the Google public DNS service.
Many Turkish Twitter users had started typing 18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124, the DNS addresses belonging to Google, into their network settings, therefore bypassing the block.
The numbers had even appeared as a graffiti to teach other people how to enter Twitter, rendering the government practice one the most ineffective bans of history.
However, eventually the authorities started to block other DNS options, too. Late on March 22, hundreds of online users claimed that "the VPN method" remained the only way to enter Twitter. The Hürriyet Daily News has verified that most DNS options, if not all, are currently blocked.
The Domain Name System (DNS) is a hierarchical distributed naming system for computers, services, or any resource connected to the Internet or a private network. DNS-tweaking can be used not only to circumvent blocking of websites, but also for faster browsing. A virtual private network (VPN), on the other hand, enables a computer to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if it were directly connected to the private network.
The Turkish authorities have not released any statement regarding the crackdown on DNS hosting services, which is believed to be based on another executive order, not a court ruling.
However, they have released a memo to explain the government's position. The statement reads that there are "hundreds of court rulings in Turkey" ordering Twitter to remove content, but the San Francisco-based social media company has yet to abide by them.
A Turkish court, meanwhile has ruled that the government’s blocking of access did not originate from a court ruling, but rather a direct executive order.