Friday, June 3, 2011

RNG Week- Turkey

TODAY: Turkey
SATURDAY: Congo-Brazzaville

Protesters in 30 cities throughout Turkey marched through the streets in mid-May in opposition to a proposed law that would censor Internet sites displaying pornography, violent content or bomb-making tutorials. The proposed law would require every Internet user to sign up for one of four filters: a 'standard' filter, a 'family' filter, a 'children's' filter, a 'domestic' filter (this last one blocks all non-Turkish websites).

I was going to go on, but then realized you are necessarily an Internet user, and thus, you have probably filled in most of the rest yourself. Deutsche Welle has by far the best write-up on the details. Of course, you know how the Internet works. (You are not Turkish. Turkey blocked Blogger in March over the unauthorized distribution of soccer games. Which of course means I'm now free to call them anything I want and imply I have slept with all of their mothers and they can't do anything about it. But that would be wrong.)

The major problem in Turkey is that a lot of them don't know how the Internet works. We talked here last March about how in the 1995, Turkey was pulling a 70% literacy rate and as a result had problems with newspapers. The literacy rate now is 88.7%. While a big improvement, that's still only good for a rank of 104th worldwide. 70% now is the realm of sub-Saharan Africa.

When basic literacy is out of reach for one out of every eight Turks, Internet literacy is a tough, tough ask. When those in charge are ignorant of the Internet, they will do self-destructive things without realizing it. When average users are ignorant, they will go along with them.

And when those in charge actually do know how the Internet works, and the public at large does not, that opens up the potential for abuse.

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