Turkey has begun blocking direct access to the Tor anonymous browsing network as part of a continuous wide ranging assault on people within the country who attempt to bypass the government’s draconian internet censorship.

tor

The watchdog group Turkey Blocks has confirmed that Turkey is blocking the Tor anonymity network’s direct access mode for most users, and has been doing since the start of December.

For now, more advanced users have found that by using a ‘bridge mode’ they can still connect to Tor, and avoid the blocks put in place by their Internet Service Providers (ISPs) but even then, there have been reports that connection and performance speeds have been affected.

Tor, which is short for ‘The Onion Router,’ is essentially an anonymising process that aims to conceal where people go online by using encryption and randomly bouncing requests for webpages through a network of different computers. The ‘Onion’ part of the name represents the fact that the Tor encryption protocols have multiple layers of protection just like the many layers of skin on the onion vegetable.

Tor has been a popular go to system for many users in countries such as China and Turkey, where people fear and/or are wary of what their traffic their government monitors online.

Turkey Blocks has posted what it claims is evidence of widespread internet interference and censorship from its regular monitoring of domestic Tor networks. which monitors internet censorship in the nation.

The organisation first started to investigate the claims that Tor networks had been affected at the beginning of December, after several reports from Turkish citizens complained that they could not connect to the network.

According to Turkey Blocks, the Turkish government has been applying pressure to ISPs to comply with its internet censorship by requesting weekly updates and statistics.

The move by President Erdogan and his government marks a new front in trying to control its domestic internet. Previously, it had focused on blocking publicly available social networks such as Facebook and Twitter during signs of public unrest. Now it seems the government is attempting to apply more restrictive and permanent measures.

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To read about why using a VPN might be a good idea, read our piece on: Privacy, Security And VPNs – What The ‘Snooper’s Charter’ Means For You