Turkey seeking “solutions” to block VPNs

Levent Gönenç, an informatics expert at Turkey’s Information Technology Authority (BTK), has said that his country is working on blocking virtual private networks (VPNs), which allow users to bypass official bans on webpages, banned news website Haberdar.com reported.

“We are presently working on this, we have precautionary warnings in place for access providers, and we have taken serious precautions: we are at the test stage, and as our tests complete, we are thinking of advancing phase by phase,” he told a parliamentary commission.

Asked whether he could ever hope to control VPNs, which have not even been entirely eliminated in internet-unfriendly countries such as Iran and China, he said that his department was taking “serious precautions”.

“There is a clause in the law relating to the use of alternative access methods such as VPNs. We are issuing warnings internet service providers (ISPs) and access providers in relation to this law,” he said.

“As you will appreciate, when you divide it into hundreds of applications and businesses, these must be tested as well in a matrix way.”

People accessing content their governments did not want them to see was a worldwide problem, Gönenç said.

“The continually changing applications – these alternative access applications – can continuously change their IP addresses and their methods. Their aim is to bypass blocking anyway, this is why they are produced,” he said.

Turkey recently attempted to block access to 20 of the most popular VPNs, as well as encrypted email website ProtonMail.