Feeds

Turkish filters block Reg commentards

Hotelier's censorship

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Updated The following story was based upon a mistaken assumption that the censorship as described was due to a Turkish governmental directive. That assumption was incorrect. The blockage of the pages discussed was instead merely instituted at a local level - in our reporter's case, through hotel-hosted web access. The Reg page as described below was - and remains - generally accessible throughout Turkey. The Reg regrets the error.

Memo to Reg commentards: You may suffer under the heavy hand of the Moderatrix - but at least you don't live in Turkey.

If you did, you wouldn't even have the freedom to read the comments appended to a run-of-the-mill Reg report about a middle-aged man posing as a lesbian in an effort to land photos of nude girls.

In the land of İznik tiles, the Ayasofya, and İskender kebabs, if you attempt to access the comment page in question - which contains Reg-reader responses to the article "Man posed as teen lesbian to snare girl's nude photos" - you're greeted not with finely honed commentary by Reg commentards, but instead with the following page, seen here as displayed by the iPhone's Safari browser:

Turkey censors Reg comment page

Turkish censors protect your delicate sensibilities

For those of you whose Turkish may be a wee bit rusty, the page's title reads "Responsible expression limit exceeded." The small black text reads "This page was blocked" and the text below the URL explains that "It exceeded the limit for responsible expression."

The long list of irresponsible expressions that follows begins with "Please consult with your systems manager about the matter and relevant information. The limit for responsible expression: 160 : 791." Presumably, there were 791 instances of unacceptable language, and 160 such expressions may be considered copacetic - and no, we have no idea why "apache, web" and other seemingly innocuous cites are considered irresponsible.

To be sure, The Reg isn't being singled out for such nanny treatment. Your intrepid Türkiye-trotting reporter took it upon himself to investigate a broad range of tawdry US-accessible websites, only to discover that they were all similarly blocked - although, strangely enough, searches of Google Images turned up a full complement of digitized nastiness.

Turkey has long taken a paternalistic attitude toward web content. Take, for example, its repeated blockings of YouTube for that site's posting of content that Turkish censors and courts deemed insulting to either the Turkish state or its enforcedly beloved founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

A Turkish court banned then quickly unbanned YouTube in March of 2007, only to re-ban it in September of that year. YouTube was again banned in early 2008. Another banning in May of that year celebrated its first anniversary in May of 2009.

YouTube hasn't been Turkey's only target. Atheism proponent Richard Dawkins has seen his website investigated and then blocked - although that action may have been more political than puritanical - and a Facebook presentation app, Slide, was also digitally blue-penciled.

It's important to note that many Turks are themselves unhappy with their government's heavy-handedness - so much so that Turkish bloggers have mounted an organized protest effort.

But challenges to the Turkish government's web censorship have as of yet come to naught. And with Turkey's efforts to join the EU now on the back burner, we expect no governmental moves to mollify web freedom-seekers. Or for that matter, web libertines.

The Reg to Ankara: block YouTube and others if you must, but when you mess with our readers' right to self-expression, you risk inciting the wrath of Vulture Central. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Facebook's Zuckerberg in EBOLA VIRUS FIGHT: Billionaire battles bug
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention contacted as site supremo coughs up
Space exploration is just so lame. NEW APPS are mankind's future
We feel obliged to point out the headline statement is total, utter cobblers
FedEx helps deliver THOUSANDS of spam messages DIRECT to its Blighty customers
Don't worry Wilson, I'll do all the paddling. You just hang on
Down-under record: Australian gets $140k for pussy
'Tiffany' closes deal - 'it's more common to offer your wife', says agent
Internet finally ready to replace answering machine cassette tape
It's a simple message and I'm leaving out the whistles and bells
The iPAD launch BEFORE it happened: SPECULATIVE GUFF ahead of actual event
Nerve-shattering run-up to the pre-planned known event
Win a year’s supply of chocolate (no tech knowledge required)
Over £200 worth of the good stuff up for grabs
STONER SHEEP get the MUNCHIES after feasting on £4k worth of cannabis plants
Baaaaaa! Fanny's Farm's woolly flock is high, maaaaaan
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
Swiss wildlife park serves up furry residents to visitors
'It's ecological' says spokesman, now how would you like your Bambi done?
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.