A Turkish Romance

The situation in Turkey remains unclear. YouTube is still blocked while Twitter is back up again. A lot of Turkish people still visit our website everyday since ZenMate can offer both - help and protection.

Twitter Turkey

A week has passed since a Turkish court ruled that a blanket ban of social-media website YouTube violated human rights and ordered most of the restrictions be lifted, citing a top court ruling that scrapped a similar ban on micro blogging site Twitter. As a short reminder, the state telecoms authority on March 27 blocked access to YouTube, Google's video-sharing site, after anonymously leaked audio recordings appeared there supposedly of senior officials discussing a possible attack on Syria ahead of an election.

Why the world is more interested in the YouTube ban instead of the supposed attack, we don’t know. What we do know, is that the court in the capital Ankara said the YouTube ban was too broad and instead specifically blocked access to 15 videos. Despite this court order the platform remains blocked for the time being. If Turkish users want to see those videos or simply avoid the risk of being blocked of their favorite YouTube videos, until a court rules this or that, ZenMate can be seen as a reliable help.

A helping Hand

And Turkish users have indeed showed us the free spirit of their nation, just like (at least partly) the Turkish Constitutional Court did. Since the 20th of March until now downloads from Turkey grew from circa one hundred thousand to nine hundred fifty thousand! Literally our friends and users form Turkey have grown 10 fold in this short period. In data transfer, when both YouTube & Twitter were blocked, we reached 10,000 gigabytes per day from Turkish users alone.

That showed us how educated and resourceful users from Turkey are. It teaches us how well informed and efficient social networking in Turkey is. But those numbers also served as a reminder for us, on how effective and elegant ZenMate can be. We never thought of having the chance to help a whole country communicate and learn for such a long time. “The people of Turkey complained that the tools currently used to evade censorship were affecting their Internet speed”, wrote Arsalan Jabbar, a tech-research enthusiast at vpnranks.com. “ZenMate, on the other hand, facilitated online freedom without diminishing Internet speed”.

Lifting the Ban remains Unclear

At this point, Turkish authorities are defying court orders and reaffirm the ban on YouTube. The huffington post reported:

Turkey's telecoms regulator said on Thursday it would not end a block on YouTube, despite court rulings lifting the ban. “The measure blocking access to the youtube.com internet site remains in place," the Information and Communications Technologies Authority (BTK) said in a statement on its website… However, the BTK said that while some of the offending links had been removed, access to others had only been blocked in Turkey and they could be viewed abroad. It said the ban would remain place "because some of the said content continues to be available on the internet site."

Meanwhile, unconfirmed rumors are spreading around Turkish users about DNS hijacking being used by Turk ISPs to collect personal data. Turkish users are not only continuing to use ZenMate to circumvent the continuing ban on YouTube, they remain concerned, as Google DNS service is still being intercepted in Turkey, allowing Turkish authorities to collect personal information silently if need be.

A Need for Protection

This means that the fast restoring of Twitter after the elections was probably not by accident. If you had to decide what platform gives you more information about the thoughts of people, which would you chose - the passive or the active one? Surveillance was a key factor in the actions of the Turkish government so far. It should be doubted that this has now changed.

We at Zenmate believe that the internet should remain free, open and secure to everyone. Our users in Turkey know very well that when they use our plugin, data collection by the Turkish government is a much harder task to handle while being protected by encryption. This is something that the Information and Communications Technologies Authority (BTK) knows very well. And since the BTK has an official twitter channel that remained active even during the block, we have to wonder: Were they using ZenMate too?