Blocking websites is far from a solution

‘Turkey reportedly blocked cloud storage services including Google Drive, Dropboxand Microsoft’s OneDrive, as well as code hosting service GitHub on Saturday, according to Turkey Blocks.

The government is believed to have done so in a bid to suppress the leak of emails belonging to the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Berat Albayrak, who is the son-in-law of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.’

Source: The Next Web


Temporary blocks like this one are basically pretty inefficient compared to long-term firewalling, internal censorship and propaganda. Countries like China that are putting extreme efforts into “keeping everything” under the hood are doing much better in this league.

Especially taking into account that long-term restriction of access has been proved to lead to self-censorship, and you couldn’t find anything much more efficient than that when it comes to protection and blocking of the distribution of “improper” information.

Also the Turkish method of blocking certain providers is like shooting a pistol into a cloud of flies… You may protect yourself from some of them, but there are thousands more. Not to mention that blocking a single website is not really a problem for a hacker, who can break into governmental databases and steal gigabytes of data.

But let’s assume they can succeed in blocking everything, they still can’t block physical leaking. Even in North Korea, the world’s most hermetically-sealed dictatorship, people can access forbidden content via sd cards and usb sticks delivered by helium filled balloons. But Turkey is very far from there, and with this level of cyber competence, they can’t even hope to prevent a leak.

I believe the entire approach needs a rethink too. Instead of simply protecting information in itself, we should all start protecting the context that surrounds it, because we will continue to be short on both human and technical resources for filtering data of leaks increasing in size from gigabytes of terabytes in a few years. As I have mentioned many times, it’s all about secrets, if they don’t even know what can be at risk, they can’t hope to mount a successful defense.