White House urges end to Turkey's Twitter ban

U.S. is 'deeply concerned' about restricting Turkish citizen access to Twitter, says Obama spokesman

The White House have called on Turkish officials to end the country's Twitter ban.

"The United States is deeply concerned that the Turkish government has blocked its citizens' access to basic communications tools," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney in a statement. "We oppose this restriction on the Turkish people's access to information, which undermines their ability to exercise freedoms of expression and association and runs contrary to the principles of open governance that are critical to democratic governance and the universal rights that the United States stands for around the world."

Obama administration officials have urged the Turkish government to restore full access to blocked technologies, Carney said.

Jen Psaki, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of State, said in a press conference on Friday that U.S. ambassador Francis Ricciardone, Jr. told government officials in Turkey of U.S. concerns about the Twitter ban.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also spoke out - on Twitter -- about the issue.

"The freedom to speak out & to connect is a fundamental right. The people of Turkey deserve that right restored. #TwitterisblockedinTurkey," she tweeted.

Turkish state news agency Anadolu last week confirmed reports that the government there had blocked the micro-blogging site because Twitter had refused to abide by a Turkish court order to remove tweets containing links to certain websites.

The country began blocking access to Twitter last Thursday.

On Sunday, Turkish president Abdullah Gul told reporters that it's while illegal in Turkey to levy a total shutdown of Internet platforms, "links containing offensive content could be closed down," according to an Anadolu report.

Twitter responded last week by tweeting instructions to Turkish users instructions on how to get around the government's restrictions.

"Turkish users: you can send Tweets using SMS. Avea and Vodafone text START to 2444. Turkcell text START to 2555," the company tweeted through its @policy account.

Today, the company tweeted, "Twitter remains committed to defending the prvacy of our users in #Turkey - we won't betray their trust."

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

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Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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