Internet Society President and CEO Kathy Brown issued the following statement on March 31 2014.:
We are deeply concerned with recent reports that the Turkish government is mandating curtailed access to key social media sites for millions of users across Turkey. Recent actions to implement the Turkish government’s requirement include the redirection of network routes so that Turkish citizens are not getting the correct information from the Domain Name System (DNS). They are instead being redirected to other web sites controlled by Turkish service providers. In addition to undermining core technical functions of the Internet’s architecture, such actions also threaten users’ fundamental human right to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas across frontiers.
Interfering with a country’s routing of Internet traffic not only harms citizens’ ability to communicate and innovate as part of the global Internet platform; it can also lead to a fragmentation of the network at the regional and global levels. Ultimately, the Turkish people and nation are the ones that will suffer, as their voices will be lost across the net.
The Internet Society believes that the Internet is a global medium that fuels economic and social development, empowers users with limitless access to knowledge, and supports aspirations for freedom. Bob Hinden, Chair of the Internet Society Board of Trustees, added, “We strongly urge the Turkish Government to stop requiring the blocking of access to social media sites and to allow full Internet access to all Turkish citizens immediately. We believe that the opportunity to participate in the global information society should never be taken away from individuals.”The Internet Society hopes that nations around the world will come to understand that blocking citizens’ access to the tools of online communication only serves to fuel discord and is not the way to address the underlying concerns of their citizens. Such measures can only undermine citizens’ trust in their government’s ability to provide an enabling Internet environment for economic and social progress.
Internet Society Press Release
Internet Society Board of Trustees Calls on the Global Internet Community to Stand Together to Support Open Internet Access, Freedom, and Privacy
Fundamental ideals of the Internet are under threat
[Berlin, Germany, 4 August 2013] – The Internet Society Board of Trustees during its meeting in Berlin, Germany today called on the global Internet community to stand together in support of open Internet access, freedom, and privacy. Recently exposed information about government Internet surveillance programs is a wake-up call for Internet users everywhere – the fundamental ideals of the Internet are under threat.
The Internet Society Board of Trustees believes that government Internet surveillance programs create unacceptable risks for the future of a global, interoperable, and open Internet. Robert Hinden, Chair of the Board of Trustees, stated, “Berlin is a city where freedom triumphed over tyranny. Human and technological progress are not based on building walls, and we are confident that the human ideals of communication and creativity will always route around these kinds of attempts to constrain them. We are especially disappointed that the very governments that have traditionally supported a more balanced role in Internet governance are consciously and deliberately hosting massive Internet surveillance programs.”
On behalf of Lynn St. Amour, President and CEO, and the Internet Society Board of Trustees:
Emerging reports from various organizations and individuals indicate that international Internet connectivity was shut off in Syria today. The Internet is an open, global medium for communication, idea exchange, empowerment, and innovation. Access to the global Internet is a crucial enabler of human rights.
As with previous actions to block Internet traffic in Egypt and Libya, the effect of cutting off Internet traffic – ceasing the flow of information in and out of the country – is a serious action. It harms not only the citizens of Syria, but also Syria’s economy and society at large. The Internet Society stands with other organizations around the world in calling for Internet access to be restored with all due speed and cooperation so that vital services can continue to function and citizens won’t be further impacted.
First and foremost, the Internet Society joins with the rest of the world in its utmost concern about the safety and security of the Syrian people. Previous cases where such actions were deliberately taken have proven not only to be harmful, but to be ineffective. The Internet Society hopes that the volatile situation in Syria will come to a peaceful solution and that the citizens of Syria will soon be able to join the rest of the world in having their voices heard online.
ISOC-NY President David Solomonoff writes about the pitfalls of prescriptions for Internet freedom: Hackers Fight For Freedom With Net Tech; Ignore Politics, Psychology At Their Peril
Internet freedom initiatives must be independent of political connotations, run on a decentralized infrastructure, and use technology that is subject to public review by security experts. Most importantly, users must have complete trust in the skills and integrity of the people providing those tools and services.
If they don’t the cure could prove worse than the disease.