Rights organizations launch book on surveillance in Istanbul [Cihan News Agency (Turkey)]
(Cihan News Agency (Turkey) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) ISTANBUL (CIHAN)- Two rights organizations, the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) and Hivos, launched a book including reports from 57 countries on communications surveillance at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) on Sept. 4.
Twenty-five of the contributors of the report were present at the event held at the Galata Hall of the Lütfi Kirdar Congress Hall in Istanbul's Harbiye district on Thursday. The book, called GISWatch 2014 (GIS stands for Global Information Society), showcases the specific situation regarding government surveillance in several country reports, including a report on Turkey.
Internet and communications surveillance is an increasingly relevant theme with real consequences, representatives of the APC and Hivos noted during their opening remarks at the book launch event.
The APC's Anriette Esterhuysen said this was the first time the organizations have been able to find funding for publishing GISWatch in print.
Katitza Rodriguez from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) briefly introduced the attendees to the 13 principles for surveillance suggested by various international rights organizations to ensure that privacy rights of Internet users around the world are protected. The GISWatch book documents country-specific examples of how these principles are violated by governments and in some cases other organizations. More information on the 13 principles of internet surveillance can be found at https://en.necessaryandproportionate.org.
Günes Tamen from Isik University made a brief presentation on the widespread censorship and privacy violations in Turkey, often practiced by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government. She noted that currently 29 people in Izmir are on trial for tweeting anti-government comments during the Gezi Protests of last year.
The IGF is a UN-sponsored event and the organizers have been criticized for holding it in Turkey this year, as the country has in the recent past blocked Twitter and YouTube.
Changes made in February of this year to the Internet law have introduced provisions forcing Internet service providers (ISPs) to retain digital data for between one and two years. The law has also introduced provisions protecting personnel of the Telecommunications Directorate (TIB) against legal action over violations of rights and the law that they might commit in the course of their job.
On Tuesday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report about Internet freedoms in Turkey, which it says "has an abysmal record of protecting free expression online."
The IGF in general has been criticized for placing too much focus on the opinions of some of the stakeholders instead of giving all stakeholders an equal say.
(Cihan/Today's Zaman) CIHAN
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