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Twitter tackles Turkish takedown

Legally challenges access blocking
Wed Mar 26 2014, 17:04
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TWITTER HAS LAUNCHED a legal challenge against the block placed on its services in Turkey.

Turkey effectively put up a wall between it and Twitter last week. Initially travellers to its domain were sent to a government website before a Turkish court ordered ISPs to block access to the website entirely.

Twitter, which had immediately publicised a workaround for the initial DNS redirect for Turkish users, is back in the mix and it has lawyers in tow.

"It's now been six days since the Turkish government blocked access to Twitter. Throughout this time, we've been engaged in discussion with Turkish authorities to hear their concerns, inform them about how our platform and policies work, and try and bring this situation to a resolution. But still, the millions of people in Turkey who turn to Twitter to make their voices heard are being kept from doing just that," wrote Twitter counsel Vijaya Gadde in a blog post.

"So today, we filed petitions for lawsuits we have been working on together with our independent Turkish attorney over the last few days in various Turkish courts to challenge the access ban on Twitter, joining Turkish journalists and legal experts, Turkish citizens, and the international community in formally asking for the ban to be lifted."

While the lawyers rev up, Twitter is putting its "Country withheld content" flag on Turkish tweets for the first time.

"The tool allows content to be withheld in a specific jurisdiction while remaining visible to the rest of the world," said Gadde. "We have already provided notice of this action to the affected users."

While the Twitter takedown has the support of three Turkish court orders and a Turkish public prosecutor's request, it does not have much international backing. Gadde is expecting Turkey to see sense and stop blocking its services.

"There are no legal grounds for the blocking of our service in Turkey," added the Twitter lawyer.

"Furthermore, with positive developments today concerning judicial review of this disproportionate and illegal administrative act of access banning the whole of Twitter, we expect the government to restore access to Twitter immediately so that its citizens can continue an open online dialogue ahead of the elections to be held at the end of this week." µ


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