Target: Turkish President Abdullah Gul
Goal: Repeal mass surveillance and internet restriction laws passed by Turkish parliament
A bill allowing mass internet surveillance and restriction was recently voted into law by Turkey’s parliament. The law will allow government agencies to legally monitor citizens’ internet activity without a court order, as well as arbitrarily block access to websites at will.
The law, passed without expert consultation, will allow the surveillance of all citizens and non-citizens accessing the internet in Turkey. Internet providers in the country will be expected to collect and hold all internet data for two years, and disclose it to government officials upon request.
Furthermore, Turkey’s Telecommunications Directorate will now have the power to restrict access to any website or order its removal, if hosted in the country. Citing “protecting families, children, and youth from items on the Internet that encourage drug addiction, sexual abuse, and suicide” as their reasoning, the Telecommunications Directorate needs only one complaint before they can block or remove the content.
This, an amendment to a previous restrictive internet law, is for the protection of Turkish citizens, according to the Turkish government. The law could actually lead to the censorship of government critics, which have been increasing with the country’s recent political unrest. It could also lead to arbitrary prosecution of protesters, civic leaders, and activists.
This law has the power to significantly hinder free expression, as well as protection of journalists’ sources and political discourse. It is a blatant breach of the privacy of Turkish citizens. Your signature will demand that Turkey’s new internet surveillance and restriction laws be repealed.
Dear President Abdullah Gul,
Recently, Turkey’s parliament passed a sweeping internet surveillance law. The law will allow mass surveillance of anyone accessing the internet in Turkey, even foreign travelers using the wireless network at an airport or coffee shop.
It will require the country’s internet service providers to collect all data from its users and store it for two years, disclosing it to government officials upon request. It will also allow sites to be blocked and content to be removed at the whim of the Telecommunications Directorate, who requires only a single complaint to block content.
This new law threatens the privacy of all citizens, and could be used to effectively silence government criticism online. It could have a serious impact on freedom of speech, journalistic protection, and political discourse, as well as lead to the arbitrary arrests of activists and civic leaders. I ask that this amendment and the previous law it amended be repealed immediately in order to protect the freedom of expression and privacy of Turkish citizens.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Marcella Gadson via Creative Commons