Turkey Institutes “Voluntary” Internet Filtering

In August, we mentioned that Turkey had backed away from mandatory Internet filtering. The initial plan had required each Internet user to choose from one of four filtering plans. This was wildly unpopular with Turkey’s influential and very secular nerds and cosmopolitan types, especially in the capitol of Istanbul.

Instead, a voluntary program is now live. The problem with this, of course, is that, given Turkey’s recent history of censorship, any program limiting access to information bears watching.

According to the English-language Turkish newspaper, Today’s Zaman:

“Those who apply for the filtering system will be asked to pick from one of three available categories: children, family and domestic. Those who do not apply for the new system can continue using the current system as usual.”

Turkey blocks, or has blocked, thousands of sites and services. These include file-sharing tool Rapishare, YouTube, Vimeo and a number of Google properties, including Docs and Books.

Turkey also blocks 138 words from being used in domain names. These include “animal,” “beat,” “escort,” “homemade,” “hot,” “nubile,” “free,” “teen,” “pic,” (bastard in Turkish), “got” (ass), “Haydar,” (mans name but also means penis), “gay,” “ç?plak” (naked), “itiraf” (confession), “liseli” (high school student), “nefes” (breath) and “yasak” (forbidden).

Thanks to Alicia Eler for this news. | Istanbul photo by eutrophication&hypoxia.

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