The government is very innovative
The Turkish government is really innovative on many fronts. I really like some of the results of the innovative attitude, but some are really difficult to accept.
In recent weeks, the focus of the government has been on preventing “crime.” First, there was a Minority Report-like move to punish those who have a tendency toward crime. Naturally, it got lots of criticism, but I am not sure if it can be stopped after the next elections. We will probably have mind readers working for the government too, along with fashion critics who will say that the clothes you wear today could signal your intention to protest the government.
This prevention unit is not the only science-fiction, crime-fighting idea from the government. Today, daily Bugün announced that there would be a new NGO to be established under the name of “Service Providers Union” by the government and that those who don’t become a member will be punished. I know that it is an oxymoron in that the government is demanding membership in a nongovernmental institution, but that is what is really happening. The members of the union will be every company that connects us with each other and with the rest of the world like Türk Telekom, TTNET, Turkcell, Vodafone and others.
These companies, however, already have their own NGOs. They are already united on many debates. However, according to the news, this new union will have a single purpose. This purpose will be to watch everything that we do over ICT and report to the government if they “suspect” that we are doing something criminal. They will also be responsible for preventing citizens from avoiding filters. You will remember that the prime minister himself told the press that he was also using some innovative methods to log in to main social media channels when they were blocked.
So the government is making it mandatory to filter and screen us by our service providers.
It is against everything that I have learned about free societies and free-market economics. The companies will have additional costs and we will pay them. In short, we will be paying for the private sector companies to screen all of our communications for the government. It is a brilliant plan. Bravo.
In the meantime, those companies which are not very competitive vis-à-vis the rest of the world will be directing almost all their valuable resources into filtering technologies. In the end, we will retain a low quality, slower than the rest of the world’s network, which is perfect for screening in order to understand whether I am displaying the tendency to commit unwanted behavior against the government. This could be logging on to pornography sites or posting a comment against the government on a social media site.
I hope that the government will reconsider this decision.