It seemed clear from yesterday’s rants by Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan, that he’s not a big fan of the internet and specifically social networks. In the past, countries undergoing heavy civilian protests have attempted to crack down on internet usage because it helps protesters organise and get the word out on any government atrocities – something our readers have been discussing on Facebook. In an effort to circumvent any planned IP blocks or internet blackouts, Turkish citizens have begun taking out subscriptions to VPN services in droves, ensuring that their internet access remain as unimpeded and anonymous as possible.
One company called AnchorFree said in a discussion with Wired, that it had received as much as a 1,000 per cent increase in sales of its Hotspot Shield VPN software during the peak of the protests. Mobile VPN services have also increased exponentially. Not all these sales came from Turkey and not all of them were to prevent government intervention in internet access, but the coincidence is too obvious to not be equatable.
Anyone wishing to get hold of a VPN service, there are plenty of affordable ones out there. However, twitter accounts representing the hacktivist movement, Anonymous, have been tweeting out free access to some services, so it’s worth keeping an eye on them too.
Representatives of the group also took down Turkish government websites over the weekend and are regularly tweeting up to date pictures and information on the escalating events in the country.
The recent furor in Turkey began with people protesting the creation of a new shopping centre in Istanbul (where there are many already), which would have seen a park demolished. However, the aggressive tactics of the police, who used water cannons and tear gas (some reports suggest tear gas was added to the water as well) on peaceful protestors, has turned most demonstrations into anti-government, instead of anti-mall protests. There have also been videos of police brutality circling around online.
KitGuru Says: If any of our readers are in Turkey at the moment, citizens or otherwise: be safe. Also, know that you can get in touch with us if you have any information on the ongoing demonstrations there.