The world is slowing closing in on making the fictional Orwellian world a fact. Back in 1949 when the George Orwell’s classic ‘1984’ was released, people would never have thought that it would one day be a reality. The novel 1984 was set in Airstrip One (formerly known as Great Britain), a province of the superstate Oceania in a world of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance, and public mind control, dictated by a political system euphemistically named English Socialism under the control of a group called the Inner Party. Edward Snowden’s leaks provide ample proof of this happening in real world but now the move by the Turkish Parliament makes this fiction a utter reality in future.
Now only the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stands between the Bill 5156 becoming a law and Turkey becoming a internet censored state. On Wednesday, the Turkey’s Parliament has approved legislation that would tighten government controls over the Internet. Once approved by Erdogan, the bill will allow the Turkish government to to block websites and censor any internet content without a prior court decision.
The legislation also would force all the Turkish Internet service providers (ISPs) to keep records on Web users’ activities for two years and make them available to authorities as and when requested without the approval of the users.
As of now, Turkey’s Internet laws are pretty tight with access to thousands of websites blocked or restricted. An independent report says that a estimated that 110,000 websites were blocked in 2011 alone while Google Turkey reported Turkish government requests to remove content from the web rose nearly 1000% last year.
With the approval of the Law No. 5651, the Turkish authorities would have unseen powers like the Orwell’s ‘Big Brother’ It also would provide authorities with ammo for additional penalties on authors, content providers, and users of content which the authorities deem inappropriate or contrary to the authoritarian views.
The fear is that Turkey may block popular social websites Twitter and Facebook with the passing of the law. The Turkish PM has been openly critical of the internet, calling Twitter a “scourge” and condemning social media as “the worst menace to society”. Also the anti privacy and pro freedom of speech activists in Turkey and else use the Twitter and Facebook to launch awareness and anti-censorship campaigns. Once of the campaigns called the #occupygezi has already claimed a life of a 19 year old innocent Turkish citizen.