Blocking social media sites wasn’t enough. Now restrictive governments are going after Internet anonymity tools.
Once again, a free and open Internet is proven to be a very powerful thing. Why else would oppressive governments move to restrict it when they feel threatened?
Turkey Blocks VPN and Tor
Major social media sites have been massively restricted or outright blocked in Turkey. This is proving to be a rather dispiriting routine for the Turkish government.
Moreover, citizens have grown wise to the recurring threat of Internet censorship from their government and many have taken to using anonymous browsing tools like Tor and VPNs. Why? Tor and VPNs allow Turkish citizens to circumvent the blocks. So Turkey took the next rational step, blocking Tor and select VPNs, according to Motherboard.
“This is something we’ve been through a million times,” Eva Galperin, the global policy analyst at the digital rights organization Electronic Frontier Foundation, told Motherboard. “At this point I could write a blog post on Turkish internet censorship using mad libs.”
Now, this isn’t a full TKO for the Turkish government. You can get around VPN blocks and continual changes by setting a VPN at a router with a pre-configured VPN WiFi router. It is an unfortunate development nonetheless.
Unsurprisingly, the Turkish government’s decision to block or massively throttle sites like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, and Skype is directly related to their usage by forces that oppose the current government. As ever, the first thing to go is free and easy communication. According to The Daily Dot,
Turkey’s Prime Minister, Binali Yıldırım, has said “These kinds of measures may be taken from time to time for security reasons. These are temporary measures and when the danger is alleviated, everything returns to normal.”
The “danger” Yildirim is referring to are the protests coming from the opposition, People’s Democratic Party, also known as HDP. The protests sprang up in response to the arrest of 12 HDP party leaders. Preventing opposition forces from communicating and organizing is unsuprising but disappointingly common activity these days. VoIP services like WhatsApp and Skype give users the freedom to speak for free across great distances.
How to Get Around a Turkish VPN and Tor Block
So the Turkish government is forcing opposition party members, and everyone else, to sit in the dark for a while. They’re doing the best they can anyway. As for now, the supposed VPN block list in Turkey includes “Tor Project, VPN Master, Hotspot Shield VPN, Psiphon, Zenmate VPN, TunnelBear, Zero VPN, VyprVPN, Private Internet Access VPN, Espress VPN, IPVanish VPN.”
Regardless, that also leaves plenty of viable VPNs active in the region. We encourage you to look into other workarounds (*cough, routers with VPN pre-installed, *cough) as well. And keep using VPNs and Tor as much as possible. Anonymity tools are absolutely essential in this era of massive hacks and identity theft. They keep online data safe. Therefore, protecting them is necessary. This won’t be the last time some despotic government goes after Tor and VPNs. Help keep the Internet free.
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