Turks bid farewell to the Internet in the face of brutal censorship/surveillance law


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Turkey is marching towards theocracy which is never a good thing.


And this is the first step for me to bid farewell to the idea of vacationing at Turkey…


I talked a few times with this random fellow from Turkey on the internet. We have a shared interest in wind instrument making, I don’t really know anything about him beyond that. A few days ago he messages me, saying he has to join the army for 6 months. He seemed pretty scared.

Is there a browser that can be used safely in a situation like Turkey is setting up? It would need to use HTTPS only, and not leak any unencrypted meta-information, and stay to sites that that have legitimate uses in the eyes of the government. Actually even that would leave a signature, you’d need to cover it with some conventional browsing, so it would need to behave identically to a browser the person was using for non-suspicious browsing. Ideally, it would be great if standard browsers had a politically-safe mode much like the current porn-mode.


Well the porn mode only keeps your family from finding out your dirty, dirty desires. Google still knows all about it. Keeping that information private is quite a bit more difficult. It is more akin to hiding through obscurity like DRM by using things like proxies and TOR.

More seriously, there is the TOR browser: https://www.torproject.org/download/download-easy.html.en
not perfect, but a step in the right direction.


“…Slouches towards Bethlehem…” Poor Old Turkey. It looks like they are heading back to being the Sick Man of Europe.

There was this on BB earlier http://boingboing.net/2014/02/05/effs-https-everywhere-fire.html I don’t know if that would help.

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We definitely need a common Internet, one that uses cheap, off-the-shelf hardware that can be setup by anyone anywhere, where no single entity or collective, be they persons, government or corporation, can interfere or restrict its use or reach.


I worry that use of TOR would become automatic cause for suspicion. Freedom must be standard. Ideally there would be a legitimate service that uses onion routing… or even simply a legitimate service that is encrypted and peer-to-peer that could serve as camoflage.

HTTPS Everywhere opportunistically uses HTTPS where it can (as I understand it), it would be very easy to slip up. I’m saying we need a browser mode in which only whitelisted sites can be accessed at all. It still requires trust in those sites, which will have to be large sites like facebook and twitter, but against a country like Turkey or the UK (as opposed to the USA or China) maybe that’s plausible. We can at least put a roadblock in front of mass mining of social networks and mass surveillance for dissent.

Army service (6 months now?) is mandatory in Turkey. A lot of my friends went through it when it was longer (18 months), and when the PKK was actively killing Turkish soldiers… that was a scary time. I did a shorter time (3 months) after that, due to educational deferment. Sure, boot camp is scary. But unless you count Israel and Switzerland as bad places, that in itself isn’t enough to make things “bad”.

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I like the TOR browser, but from the content side, I also like the idea of using the current Internet to eat itself.

A site like Wikileaks or EFF could make itself REALLY useful by having multiple domains spread out all over the place, and offer subdomains to whomever wants to sign up in Turkey, Iran, China, whereEVER they want to sign up from. And the URLS are unassailable from the inside of that particular country.

People can say what they want on their site since it’s offland; there are no local laws that can touch it. People need to use strong encryption and hide their tracks to update their sites, but that’s not too hard and could be built in - no open transactions allowed, TOR required for site work.

That’s not to stop a country from blocking those URLs. But at least the people who want to speak out can say whatever they want to, cover their tracks, preserve their freedom, and get the news out.

We do. Probably wireless, therefore still regulated? Unless there’s plenty of unregulated frequency.

But something that fizzed and burped signal in an adequately random manner to avoid identification would be great.

I don’t really see how it can’t happen!

You could really piss them off by vacationing in Greece instead.

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There is a project being developed to help friends in repressed places called uProxy:

The University of Washington and Brave New Software partnered to develop uProxy, a project seeded by Google Ideas, which enables friends to provide each other with a trusted pathway to the web. To learn more or help develop the project further visit the uProxy website.


Domains require a domain name lookup. I’m pretty sure this could be monitored. It’s going to look suspicious going to legitimatepoliticaldiscussionaboutturkey.eff.org. Maybe just a website? A really big website that is 99.95% cat pictures.

uProxy looks good. From their website: “There’s no uProxy-specific mark on traffic that identifies the traffic as being sent by uProxy. We’d like the traffic to look no different from a networked video game or Internet phone calls. Protocol detection and obfuscation are both very active research fields.We’ll be using encryption and obfuscation technologies to make it hard to identify the traffic between users. This means that the traffic will not look like standard WebRTC Internet traffic, and should be very hard to identify and block.”

Some site could offer domain registry by proxy (like asking a friend in a different country to register for you), or they could just host subdomains at will, and the urls will of course be offland.

Switzerland is a lovely place. Totally mensch.


So… this isn’t going to do much for getting Turkey into the EU, like that was ever going to happen.

Hi everyone, writer of the piece here.

I want to thank all of you for your comments and advices. We’re both trying to work politic-legal ways to stop it and technical ways to save ourselves from censorship and surveillance. I’m taking notes from here and we’ll work on them. So feel free to write everything comes to your mind.

I’ll try to keep you updated and informed about Turkey. So you can feel free to ask anything you’re wondering about here. I’ll do my best to help you.

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