Turkey has closed off access to Wikipedia, the free internet encyclopedia, for people within its territory. The move announced on Andolu, the official Turkish News Agency, said the site was blocked for hosting and refusing to remove content that was part of a “coordinated smear campaign” against the country. The blocking of Wikipedia in all language variants was confirmed as on Saturday, April 29 by Turkey Blocks, an independent organization charting mass internet censorship in the country. Details on this coordinated smear campaign which allegedly showed Turkey working in coordination with various terrorist groups have not been given.
Shut out at the border
At stake is much more than an online encyclopedia. The Turkish governments has long had an uneasy relationship with the internet. At other times it has blocked Twitter and social media. In this latest case, the filtering is being done at the Internet Service Provider level where the address of the Wikipedia sites has been identified, blacklisted, and the ISP refuses to make the initial connection or deliver data packets to this address. This approach is easier when there are only a few pipelines for transmitting the internet in or out of a country.
Get out of my mailbox!
With the new restrictions, the Turkish internet has become an ever-intrusive mailman, going through the mail before it is delivered. Specifically, he is looking for two things: unencrypted data “postcards” headed to Wikipedia and the Wikipedia DNS – the addressing system of the internet – on encrypted data “envelopes.”
This approach will catch the basic user. If the basic entrance door to the internet is blocked, and someone is rummaging around in your mailbox, it is time to check out the window called a Virtual Private Network or VPN.
An alarming trend
Beyond the individual specifics of Turkey blocking Wikipedia or Twitter, the issue is global. In Russia, for example, the government is reportedly preparing a law that would penalize VPNs for allowing access to banned sites and search engines from listing links to them. In short, companies would be penalized for providing a software or service that does not comply with the government’s blocking demands. The concern is that countries will turn the global internet into a country-wide intranet where they can control both content and access.
Step into Avira Phantom VPN
Avira Phantom VPN is a full-fledged VPN that encrypts communication and web addresses point-to-point – without keeping logs of user activities. More importantly, it directly opens up four windows by which Turkish users can access Wikipedia – or other sites:
Encryption is the mandatory primary element with Phantom VPN, regardless of the operating system or device. It encrypts everything and does not settle for “approximate” or proxy VPN coverage which only forwards the message to a different virtual location.
Hides the DNS address book
Phantom VPN encrypts the names of visited sites in addition to the communication.
Choices of location
Avira Phantom VPN lets users pick their virtual location. This option lets the user unlock a wealth of geo-restricted content whether they are safely at home or half-way around the globe.
Income should not be the deciding factor in anyone’s access to free information. Avira Phantom VPN is available free to all users, both for registered and unregistered users. Unregistered users have a data allowance of up to 500MB/month and registered users with a higher limit of 1GB/month. Users subscribing to the Pro version also receive unlimited data traffic.