Although we live in 2016, internet censorship in the world is as real as people still using “1234567890” as a password. Although to be honest we don’t really know which of these is worse, for now we’ll leave password concerns in their corner, as now we’ll be dealing with countries restricting internet access to its citizens. Turkey for instance, one of the most appreciated and visited countries in the world by tourists, is also quite at the back seat regarding online freedom concerns. Turkish people live in an oppressive regime that often blocks pages such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or WhatsApp, although restrictions are not as vast as in China with its Great Firewall for instance. Nevertheless, it is something present in everyday life and because of that, users already learned one of the best ways to avoid such restrictions. The problem is that the government also learned the lesson and VPNs are now the new targets.
Stop, You Bad VPN
That’s right! If before all it would take was only using a simple VPN to grant a successful circumvention to government’s online restrictions, now the case turned darker as the Information and Communication Technologies Authority of Turkey issued a directive forcing ISPs to ban VPN usage. The order was released only a couple of hours after another social network block was initially set in place, due to a number of political issues with users feeling the effects on their VPN and proxy solutions within hours. According to a Turkish media website, the ban targeted some of the bigger VPN names, while other less commonly used or known providers were left out and are still able to grant their services on Turkish territory. In addition, many VPN companies’ homepages' access was blocked, as well as the one for Tor.
Will Banning VPNs Become The Ultimate Barrier?
The more a problem grows the stronger it is fought. That’s just how pretty much everything works in the world and that’s how VPNs were created in the first place, because governments, ISPs, schools, workplaces and many others began to block the access to websites in particular, or to the internet in general. The sands of time didn’t stop and VPNs grew in popularity, receipt gathered, and therefore they are now the target for entities enforcing the blocks. Some websites, like Netflix for instance, can now detect incoming traffic from VPNs too, which led to measures being adapted in order to prevent more “exploits” from users around the world. In turn, some of those users now opt for other methods until those arise and get stricken too completing the circle.
Because VPNs are such a brilliant and easy solution only time will tell if they will be massively targeted. However, since some of them are used for business purposes many times by companies inside the geo-block affected areas, they can contribute for its bans being lifted, as it is believed that could happen with Turkey.
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