Turkey bans Google Books, Google Docs, Google Translate...

Collateral damage from YouTube snuff?


Turkey has banned multiple Google services, according to reports, including Google Translate, Google Docs, and Google Books. But Mountain View believes the ban is accidental, a side effect of Turkey's longstanding ban on the Google-owned YouTube.

According to the International Business Times, Turkey’s Telecommunications Presidency has released a statement saying said it has banned many Google IP addresses, but it did not provide reasons for doing so. The statement said that some addresses are completely inaccessible while others are merely slow to load. Reports claim problems with Google AppEngine, FeedBurner, AdWords, and Analytics as well as Google Translate, Google Docs, and Google Books.

Apparently, the ban began on June 4.

But Google tells The Reg that it believes these services were banned accidentally and that it's working with the Turkish government to solve the problem. "We have received reports that some Google applications are unable to be accessed in Turkey," reads a statement from the company. "The difficulty accessing some Google services in Turkey appears to be linked to the ongoing ban on YouTube. We are working to get our services back up as soon as possible."

Turkish authorities have continuously blocked access to YouTube since May 2008, after users uploaded videos that insulted the Turkish republic's founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. And the government previously banned the video-sharing site on at least three other occasions.

Apparently, the first ban, in 2007, was a response to a parody news broadcast in which Greek football fans taunted the Turks by saying: "Today's news; Kemal Atatürk was gay!" Under Turkish law — Law 5651 — the courts can shut down a website of it attacks Atatürk or incites suicide, paedophilia, drug usage, obscenity, or prostitution.

The original video was taken down, but prosecutors have since objected to countless other videos insulting Atatürk.

Whether accidental or not, free-press outfit Reporters Without Boarders condemned Turkish authorities for extending the ban beyond YouTube, as it has long criticized the YouTube ban. “It is time the Turkish authorities demonstrated their commitment to free expression by putting an end to the censorship that affects thousands of websites in Turkey and by overhauling Law 5651 on the Internet, which allows this sort of mass blocking of sites,” Reporters Without Borders said.

“The censorship of YouTube in particular seems to be an archaic form of control, one that prevents Turks from accessing Web 2.0’s potential... [this] trend has been accentuated by the current problems in accessing other services provided by Google, which are widely used by Turkish Internet users."

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) estimates that about 3,700 websites are “blocked for arbitrary and political reasons” in Turkey, including foreign websites, sites aimed at the country's Kurdish minority, and gay sites.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that Turkey’s communications minister has called on Google to register as a taxpayer in the country, saying this would hasten a move towards lifting the YouTube ban. “The company should open a representation,” Transport and Communications Minister Binali Yıldırım said on Tuesday. “YouTube is a taxpayer in 20 countries, and we want them to do the same in Turkey.”

Google tells us that it does not operate servers in Turkey, but that it will work with the government to resolve this issue. "Google complies with tax law in every country in which it operates," reads another statement from the company. "We are currently in discussion with the Turkish authorities about this, and are confident we comply with Turkish law. We report profits in Turkey which are appropriate for the activities of our Turkish operations." ®


Other stories you might like

  • Lonestar plans to put datacenters in the Moon's lava tubes
    How? Founder tells The Register 'Robots… lots of robots'

    Imagine a future where racks of computer servers hum quietly in darkness below the surface of the Moon.

    Here is where some of the most important data is stored, to be left untouched for as long as can be. The idea sounds like something from science-fiction, but one startup that recently emerged from stealth is trying to turn it into a reality. Lonestar Data Holdings has a unique mission unlike any other cloud provider: to build datacenters on the Moon backing up the world's data.

    "It's inconceivable to me that we are keeping our most precious assets, our knowledge and our data, on Earth, where we're setting off bombs and burning things," Christopher Stott, founder and CEO of Lonestar, told The Register. "We need to put our assets in place off our planet, where we can keep it safe."

    Continue reading
  • Conti: Russian-backed rulers of Costa Rican hacktocracy?
    Also, Chinese IT admin jailed for deleting database, and the NSA promises no more backdoors

    In brief The notorious Russian-aligned Conti ransomware gang has upped the ante in its attack against Costa Rica, threatening to overthrow the government if it doesn't pay a $20 million ransom. 

    Costa Rican president Rodrigo Chaves said that the country is effectively at war with the gang, who in April infiltrated the government's computer systems, gaining a foothold in 27 agencies at various government levels. The US State Department has offered a $15 million reward leading to the capture of Conti's leaders, who it said have made more than $150 million from 1,000+ victims.

    Conti claimed this week that it has insiders in the Costa Rican government, the AP reported, warning that "We are determined to overthrow the government by means of a cyber attack, we have already shown you all the strength and power, you have introduced an emergency." 

    Continue reading
  • China-linked Twisted Panda caught spying on Russian defense R&D
    Because Beijing isn't above covert ops to accomplish its five-year goals

    Chinese cyberspies targeted two Russian defense institutes and possibly another research facility in Belarus, according to Check Point Research.

    The new campaign, dubbed Twisted Panda, is part of a larger, state-sponsored espionage operation that has been ongoing for several months, if not nearly a year, according to the security shop.

    In a technical analysis, the researchers detail the various malicious stages and payloads of the campaign that used sanctions-related phishing emails to attack Russian entities, which are part of the state-owned defense conglomerate Rostec Corporation.

    Continue reading
  • FTC signals crackdown on ed-tech harvesting kid's data
    Trade watchdog, and President, reminds that COPPA can ban ya

    The US Federal Trade Commission on Thursday said it intends to take action against educational technology companies that unlawfully collect data from children using online educational services.

    In a policy statement, the agency said, "Children should not have to needlessly hand over their data and forfeit their privacy in order to do their schoolwork or participate in remote learning, especially given the wide and increasing adoption of ed tech tools."

    The agency says it will scrutinize educational service providers to ensure that they are meeting their legal obligations under COPPA, the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.

    Continue reading
  • Mysterious firm seeks to buy majority stake in Arm China
    Chinese joint venture's ousted CEO tries to hang on - who will get control?

    The saga surrounding Arm's joint venture in China just took another intriguing turn: a mysterious firm named Lotcap Group claims it has signed a letter of intent to buy a 51 percent stake in Arm China from existing investors in the country.

    In a Chinese-language press release posted Wednesday, Lotcap said it has formed a subsidiary, Lotcap Fund, to buy a majority stake in the joint venture. However, reporting by one newspaper suggested that the investment firm still needs the approval of one significant investor to gain 51 percent control of Arm China.

    The development comes a couple of weeks after Arm China said that its former CEO, Allen Wu, was refusing once again to step down from his position, despite the company's board voting in late April to replace Wu with two co-chief executives. SoftBank Group, which owns 49 percent of the Chinese venture, has been trying to unentangle Arm China from Wu as the Japanese tech investment giant plans for an initial public offering of the British parent company.

    Continue reading
  • SmartNICs power the cloud, are enterprise datacenters next?
    High pricing, lack of software make smartNICs a tough sell, despite offload potential

    SmartNICs have the potential to accelerate enterprise workloads, but don't expect to see them bring hyperscale-class efficiency to most datacenters anytime soon, ZK Research's Zeus Kerravala told The Register.

    SmartNICs are widely deployed in cloud and hyperscale datacenters as a means to offload input/output (I/O) intensive network, security, and storage operations from the CPU, freeing it up to run revenue generating tenant workloads. Some more advanced chips even offload the hypervisor to further separate the infrastructure management layer from the rest of the server.

    Despite relative success in the cloud and a flurry of innovation from the still-limited vendor SmartNIC ecosystem, including Mellanox (Nvidia), Intel, Marvell, and Xilinx (AMD), Kerravala argues that the use cases for enterprise datacenters are unlikely to resemble those of the major hyperscalers, at least in the near term.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022