Leading the censorship race

Leading the censorship race

As people make moves to become more digitized, politicians panic and want to impose strict rules and regulations not to lose control over society. I believe politicians around the world all see the internet as a menace. They think evil in modern times originates from social media. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan declared his dissent openly, but I bet he is not alone. As Matt Damon stated in his speech that went viral, heads of states probably have more in common with each other than with their fellow citizens.

The similarities between Iran, China, North Korea and Turkey are kind of obvious and there are many articles hinting at that. However, the situation does not change much as we go west either. Let’s take British Prime Minister David Cameron as an example. Prime Minister David Cameron’s ongoing plan to enact a ban on porn is well known. He announced that anyone who possesses a porn depicting rape (simulated or not) can face up to three years in jail — the same amount of prison time as the average sentence for actual sexual assault in the United States. Earlier this year, he drew up plans to require Britons to register with their internet service provider if they wanted to watch adult entertainment. He has recently said he wants to expand internet censorship in the U.K. to block “extremist” Islam sites, in an effort to counter the spread of Muslim terrorism. What is considered as extremist is unknown. The U.K. has a very good track record for social harmony and I want to believe they will find the best possible solution.

However, I don’t have such trust in the Turkish government. It is because of the fact that thousands of websites are already banned. All kinds of porn is banned, the websites about Darwinism are banned, online gambling is banned, many video streaming websites such as Vimeo gets banned regularly, many Kurdish websites are banned. In short, our authorities like to punish all kinds of content outside of their comfort zone.

Therefore, recent rumors about government backed Trojan horse software seems believable to me. According to Prof. Savaş Bozbel, in the name of fighting illegal downloads, the government will start to plant spyware in popular content. This will enable the government to track everything in those computers after the user downloads the audiovisual material.

This is beyond 1984; this is beyond anything you have heard. It means that once they are planted into your computer, they will have the power to observe and report all that you do. They will even have the possibility of altering any file in your system. I wish I could have been able to dismiss this information as a farfetched conspiracy, but looking at the track record of the current administration, I am very sad to say that this could happen.

Prime Minister Erdoğan promised personal information will be under the protection of law, I guess there is nothing else to do but wait and see.