Declan McCullagh on Tue, 18 Apr 2000 22:12:36 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> FC: Turkish government, intel officials will monitor the Internet

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Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2000 12:54:19 -0400
Subject: Turkey Debates Cyberspace Controls

Sunday April 16 10:09 PM ET
Turkey Debates Cyberspace Controls
By Elif Unal

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey is considering patrolling cyberspace for threats 
to its security using a powerful watchdog body which includes senior 
military and intelligence officials.

Such a move would be likely to attract further European criticism of 
Turkey, which has to improve its human rights record before joining the 
European Union.

``Protection of the information base...against those with evil intentions, 
terrorist activities and disasters has gained importance,'' says a Defense 
Ministry draft law called the ''Bill on The National Information Security 
Organization And Its Duties.''

For the Turkish authorities there are two main ``terrorist'' threats; the 
separatist Kurdish rebel movement and militant Islamic activism.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the battle with the guerrilla Kurdistan 
Workers Party (PKK) was fought in the mountains of the southeast. Now, with 
the capture of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan and crippling guerrilla defeats 
at the hands of the military, PKK operations have moved, in part at least, 
to cyberspace.

Journalists can be, and are, prosecuted for citing PKK statements or 
comments by PKK members. Politicians are jailed under sedition laws, 
applied often in draconian fashion.


``Such regulation is also needed for the protection of communication among 
state institutions which has to be secret,'' said Ziya Aktas, a government 
MP and head of a parliamentary group on information and information 


The draft bill goes as far as obliging locally registered Internet 
corporations, public and private, to take any measures the watchdog body 
may request ``at any level of secrecy.'' This, experts say, could involve 
the passing on of private e-mail correspondence and other information 
submitted to the World Wide Web.

``Those who do not fulfil their obligations will be punished with one to 
five years in jail,'' it says.

The composition of the supervisory board also raises eyebrows.

It would be chaired by the prime minister and include intelligence 
officials and relevant cabinet members as well as the secretary general of 
the military-dominated National Security Council.


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