A few weeks ago, the Turkish government decided to go after its tech-savvy citizens by asking internet service providers to block access to Tor and top ten VPN services used to dodge government blocks.
The censorship efforts of Turkey’s Erdogan regime grow as watchdog Turkey Blocks confirms the government has almost completely blocked direct access to Tor, after another recent order to block Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, and constraints on WhatsApp and Skype.
Tor, a network that allows anonymous communication, had become popular among Turkish citizens, as it has also allowed them to bypass censorship.
“Tor usage via bridges including obfs3 and obfs4 remains viable, although we see indications that obfs3 is being downgraded by some service providers with scope for similar on restrictions obfs4,” informs the watchdog. “The restrictions are being implemented in tandem with apparent degradation of commercial VPN service traffic.”
Online restrictions imposed by the government aim to entrench its power by reducing citizens’ access to unaltered news, tightening control of what citizens search for and inhibiting protests and movement against Erdogan. Until the restrictions were enforced, Tor was the only way to read uncensored news and keep a private digital footprint. In addition to these restrictions, the Turkish government had “cut the internet access of 12 million people after removing 28 town mayors from the same Kurdish opposition party,” wrote the DailyDot in November.