Turkey Blocks Google DNS, YouTube Could Be Next

The social media crackdown in Turkey continues, as the country has moved to block backdoor access to communications services like Twitter through Google DNS. YouTube, another service offered by the global search giant, might be next after refusing to remove videos alleging government corruption.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government called the ban a “preventive measure” after the service had been used by citizens to spread allegations of corruption within the government. “Twitter has been used as a means to carry out systematic character assassinations by circulating illegally acquired recordings, fake and fabricated records of wiretapping,” the government said in a statement.

After Twitter users found themselves unable to access Twitter beginning Thursday, many turned to Google’s DNS service as a way to circumvent the ban. That proved only a temporary solution, however, as the government has removed access to that service as well.

Of course, there are other similar services out there, like OpenDNS, which we’ve heard is still up and running. According to one of our sources in Turkey, VPN usage is at all time high, along with usage of privacy tools like ZenMate and Onavo (which had been acquired by Facebook last fall.

Twitter isn’t the only communications service that could find itself banned in Turkey. The government has requested the company remove videos that allege corruption, a request that YouTube says it has refused. That has led some internally to believe that it, too, could find itself blocked in Turkey.

“We feel an immediate threat,” one YouTube employee told the Wall Street Journal.

If Turkey does ban the video-sharing site, it wouldn’t be the first time YouTube was not available to residents there. The site had been banned several times between 2007 and 2010.

Update: Turkey is now blocking Twitter at the IP level, so changing DNS servers will no longer work.

Image: composite with photo by Flickr user Jeremy Vandel under a CC by 2.0 license