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After Spectacular Twitter Ban Fail, Turkey Becomes First Country To Block Google DNS

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, March 24 2014

Screenshot of a Tor graph of usage spiking in Turkey

After the Twitter block in Turkey failed so spectacularly last week—sending the numbers of in-country tweets sky high—the authorities responded by blocking Google DNS, one of the most popular ways of circumventing the Twitter ban. The action has earned Turkey the dubious distinction of being the first country to block Google DNS.

Joel Hruska of Extreme Tech explains why this clumsy attempt at censorship won't work:

It’s not that web censorship can’t work — China’s Great Firewall is proof that internet censorship can absolutely work, and work beautifully, if applied slowly, relatively subtlety, and over the long term. Shape people’s expectations in general, and you shape their perceptions of what is and isn’t acceptable behavior.

But blatant, heavy-handed censorship of the kind [Prime Minister Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan has deployed almost never works. Faced with a corrupt government desperately attempting to cover its own tracks, the citizenry is responding with multiple creative attempts to break the government’s hold on information.

Turkish tweeters are adapting quickly to the new censorship techniques, connecting to Twitter via text messages and virtual private networks. The use of Tor has spiked significantly since the ban went into effect.

The BBC also has an article on why the Twitter block is a 'losing battle,' citing security expert Rik Ferguson: "Trying to block communications via the internet is nigh on impossible unless you pull the plug entirely."

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