Tor Comes to the Rescue of Turkish Online Activists
November 29, 2016
Authorities in Turkey have effectively banned the use of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Tor, however, has to come to the rescue of users, particularly online activists who want to get the word out about the social unrest in the country.
Motherboard in a report tiled Turks Are Flocking to Tor After Government Orders Block of Anti-Censorship Tools says:
Turkish Internet users are flocking to Tor, the anonymizing and censorship circumvention tool, after Turkey’s government blocked Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Usage of Tor inside of Turkey went up from around 18,000 users to 25,000 users on Friday, when the government started blocking the popular social media networks, according to Tor’s official metrics.
Apart from direct connection to the Tor Network through TOR browser, the network also allows users to use bridge relays that circumvent any access restrictions by ISPs. Though it’s not yet clear if ISPs in Turkey have also banned Tor access; however, the bridge relay connections have seen a spike in number since the ban was implemented.
It is speculated that the Government may have notified ISPs to ban Tor access, but failed to tell them to do so effectively, which becomes apparent here (a Tweet by a user):
I believe the government just sent the order and didn’t give any guide about how to do it,” Sabanc? told Motherboard in an online chat via Twitter. “And now ISPs trying to figure it out.
This is not the first time Tor has come to the rescue of online activists. One thing though is sure, more and more people concerned about their privacy or do not want to be repressed turning towards anonymous networks like Tor.