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Turkey draws up ‘Big Brother’ web monitoring bill

8 January 2014

A draft bill has been drawn up in Turkey to permit authorities to limit access to the Internet and monitor all actions by individuals on-line and keep such records for two years.

Three articles about Internet usage were hidden within a longer draft bill on the Family and Social Policy Ministry’s organisational structure and responsibilities, Turkish journalist, Yalcin Dogan, said yesterday.

The draft law will allow officials to control keywords more easily; meaning access to videos on video-sharing websites such as YouTube that include keywords deemed problematic by Turkish authorities, will be blocked.

According to the draft law, all individuals’ Internet records, including details about what sites they have visited, which words they have searched for on the web and what activity they have engaged in on social networking websites, will be kept for one or two years.

Web providers will also be legally obliged to join a new Internet union to be formed under the control of government, Dogan wrote.

The draft bill is said to be designed to “protect the family, children and youth from items on the Internet that encourage drug addiction, sexual abuse and suicide”.

Responding to a question on the matter, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) spokesperson Huseyin Celik said Turkey would never become like China, which is famous for its Internet censorship.

“Turkey is not China and will never be like China in this manner. Aren’t we all in consensus on having some laws about social media and Internet media? There can be regulations based on world standards anywhere in the world,” said Celik.

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