■ The UN and some international organizations have declared the Internet as the main tool of freedom of expression and freedom of the press. The Internet and social media are indispensable for the individual to progress, for the individual to take part in society and for a sustainable democracy. Around the whole world masses demand access to information, transparency and participative democracy.
■ The Freedom of expression, the freedom to protest and privacy are fundamental human rights. Freedom of expression also consists of dissent. However, defamation, hate speech and call for violence are not included in freedom of expression.
■ Social media have changed communication and organization styles considerably. Social media are not a “menace” to society, but in the contrary, they are group of tools that are highly valuable for the society.
■ The use of social media is not an illegal act, but it is part of communication freedom, which is a constitutional right. Eavesdropping into others’ social media communication, however, is illegal. According to 22nd article of the Constitution of the Turkish Republic “everyone has the right to communicate freely. One of the fundamentals of communication is privacy”
■ The Gezi Park protests show us that social media supports citizens attempts at seeking these rights perfectly. This support is performed in order to resolve the information asymmetry between the citizens and the government. Since almost all the Turkish press ignored the truth or openly fabricated news, the social media allowed the population to learn the truth.
■ Social Media sharing activities that do not contain defamation, hate speech or call to violence are not a crime. These activities include sharing protest locations and times or sharing medical information such as doctor or pharmacy locations for those who have been exposed to violence.
■ Citizens may use pseudo names or nicknames while sharing content on Social Media. This is one of the most common practices of the Internet and it is not a crime according to the Turkish Republic’s criminal law.
■ The reason to regulate social media or make it a crime to share content on social media is to threaten people and force them into self-censorship. Self-censorship is one of the most terrifying violations of freedom of expression, information and communication. In a constitutional state where democracy is operational, we cannot accept that authorities force the citizens to self-censorship.
■ Twitter, Facebook, Gmail and Hotmail can carry information in an encrypted form. It is almost impossible to decrypt or break encrypted information. Having a small lock icon on the address bar of the browser and “https://” prefix instead of http:// ensures encrypted communication while using these services.
■ Third parties cannot peek through these encrypted user data on the Internet. However user data are stored in servers unencrypted. Further, these are mostly operated by American companies. These companies can see and share unencrypted user data with law enforcement agencies and other government offices.
■ According to various sources including government sources, Facebook is sharing user data with Turkish authorities, while Twitter is refusing data sharing at this moment.
This public announcement is made by the following organizations on 29 June 2013
■ Alternative Informatics Association (Alternatif Bilişim Derneği) – https://alternatifbilisim.org
■ Chamber of Computer Engineers (Bilgisayar Mühendisleri Odası) – http://bmo.org.tr
■ Chamber of Electrical Engineers (Elektrik Mühendisleri Odası) – http://emo.org.tr
■ Internet Technologies Association (İnternet Teknolojileri Derneği) – http://inetd.org.tr
■ Internet Publishers Association (İnternet Yayıncıları Derneği) – http://iyad.org.tr
■ Pirate Party Movement (Korsan Parti Hareketi) – http://korsanparti.org/
■ Turkish Linux Users Association (Linux Kullanıcıları Derneği) – http://lkd.org.tr
■ Pardus Users Association (Pardus Kullanıcıları Derneği) – http://pkd.org.tr
■ PHP Developers Association (PHP Geliştiricileri Derneği) – http://pgd.org.tr
■ Turkish Telecom Employees Association (Telekomcular Derneği) – http://telekomculardernegi.org.tr
■ Our lives are at the street: Hollaback Istanbul Movement (Canimiz Sokakta: Hollaback Istanbul Hareketi) – http://www.canimizsokakta.com/
■ Close Education (Yakından Eğitim) – http://yakindanegitim.org/