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Turkey passed new Internet banning law

Turkish parliament has approved a new Internet bill that will give the government control.

The new law will allow Turkey’s telecommunications authority to block websites without any court involvement as well as force any Internet providers to store usage data on all web users for two years and make it available to authorities.

The new ruling may have been passed from last year’s demonstrations where protesters used the Internet to share and spread photos and information.

Opposition have criticized the move calling it an assault on freedom of expression.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said that the new law give Turkey’s telecommunications agency the ability to “gather communications data about all internet users without any legal limits or restrictions” and with users “never… able to know when and how this information is gathered”.

Internet access in Turkey is already heavily restricted with thousands of websites blocked, however, that has not stopped Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan from being openly critical of the Internet, calling Twitter a “scourge” and condemning social media as “the worst menace to society.”

Both Twitter and Facebook were widely used by anti-government protesters to spread information during demonstrations last year.

The new law was adopted only after a few hours of debate in parliament where Mr Erdogan’s governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) dominated with 319 of the 550 seats.

When the debate about the new law began, Turkey opposition MP Hasan Oren compared Mr Erdogan to Adolf Hitler saying, “When you came to power you talked of enhancing democracy in Turkey – now you are trying to implement fascism,” yet Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said there was “no such thing as Internet censorship” in Turkey.

“We are freer compared to many other countries and have freedom of the press,” he said.

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