Protests in Turkey against Internet controls

Thousands of Turks protested Sunday both online and on the streets against new Internet controls proposed by the Turkish government.

The controls will require users to choose one of four filters before accessing the Internet, according to news media reports. The family, children, domestic or standard filters will result in different levels of filtering. The list of websites that will be blocked by each filter is classified, said Reporters Without Borders.

The new rules from Turkey's Information and Communication Technologies Authority, which is commonly known as BTK, go into effect Aug. 22.

"This measure is a complete violation of both the European Convention on Human Right and Turkey's own constitution," Reporters Without Borders said earlier this month. "Everyone should be guaranteed unrestricted access to the Internet."

The Turkish government earlier abandoned a plan in April to filter content based on 138 keywords, Reporters Without Borders said.

On some Internet sites, users have posted videos which they said are of a march on Sunday at Taksim Square in Istanbul.

Users are suspicious that the BTK will filter websites even when the standard option is selected. BTK could not be immediately reached for comment.

In a petition on Avaaz.org, an online forum for mobilizing support for a cause, petitioners called on BTK to withdraw any regulations that include mandatory content filtering for Internet users in Turkey, and immediately reverse the new "Rules and Procedures on the Safe Use of the Internet".

Under the new rules, the BTK would have total control over which internet sites are blocked under the filters and could add or remove sites without users' knowledge, giving it the power to ban thousands of websites without any good reason, the petition said.

It questioned the BTK's claim that they are providing families with an important service, and added that the filters are already available for download by anyone who wants to install them.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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