Authoritarian governments have historically had control of, or have attempted to control, the media – which is why our founding fathers put freedom of the press and freedom of speech at the very beginning of our Constitution.
Most other countries, however, have not adopted governing documents that recognize free speech and freedom of the press as inalienable rights that are natural and therefore not subject to the whims of government rulers. Count Turkey as one of those countries.
The website Turkey Blocks, which maps Internet freedom in real time, reported recently that Ankara, the capital of Turkey, has blocked access to Dropbox, Microsoft Onedrive, Google Drive and other transfer services in an attempt to keep a lid on leaked emails. The decision by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (pronounced ER-doh-wan) comes after hacktivist group Redhack leaked some private emails of the president’s son-in-law, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Berat Albayrak.
The Next Web speculated that the decision was “likely a means to stop people from hosting the email dumps on their accounts and making it more widely available.”
The leak of about 17 GB of data is believed to cover some 57,623 emails that date from April 2000 to the end of September of this year. An order from a court in Ankara regarding the investigation of the hacking collective provides some authenticity of the leak.
The Daily Dot, which received the email dump, say the emails show how Erdogan used his position of power to influence the Turkish media and guide the publishing of select information in friendly newspapers (sound familiar?).
In addition to the radical censoring measure, the Erdogan government also banned any newspapers from reporting on the leak – thereby depriving Turkish citizens of the right to a) hear about the leak itself; and b) know whether or not the emails revealed any government corruption.
But also, according to The Daily Dot, the hack and resultant leak of the data underscore the Turkish government’s vulnerability regarding operational security (OPSEC). Minister Albayrak “shared business deals with partners and discussed government policy documents over U.S.-hosted email servers” including those belonging to Google, Apple (iCloud), and Yahoo, a very questionable practice, The DD noted.
The Next Web reported as well that Turkey has a long history of Internet censorship and blocking Internet services because it seeks to control what its citizens get to see and read about the government. In July Ankara blocked WikiLeaks after a leak of emails belonging to one of Turkey’s political parties, Motherboard noted. That decision came shortly after a failed military coup in the country.
And in March the Erdogan administration banned Web users from accessing Twitter and Facebook following a car-bomb explosion in the capital.
As secretive as the Obama administration has been and as corrupt as Hillary Clinton is, without our First Amendment we would have never found out about all the things that have been going on to protect the latter from prosecution and to help her defeat GOP rival Donald J. Trump. That said, the political Left in America – those who side with Obama and Clinton – want to change that.
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