TL;DR – CAM4 Web Traffic from Turkey down 82.75% as Turkish Government Continues Crackdown on Social Networks and Freedom of Expression.
It would appear Turkish censorship skyrocketed over the past year as aggressive ISP blocking has hit the CAM4 site for the last several months. The new year shows no signs of letting up as Turkish users continue to report problems accessing CAM4 live performances from locations inside Turkey.
CAM4 has tracked alarming trends unique to Turkey for some time, which indicate apparent censorship and attacks on freedom of expression for viewers and performers alike. We first noticed a significant drop in June of 2016 when traffic from Turkish users plunged 28% virtually overnight. This in itself was significant. The team continued to monitor the trend as it plateaued for the rest of Q3. Two months later, traffic from Turkey started declining again at a more alarming pace, dropping an additional 65% within a week.
The trend continued and worsened throughout the remainder of 2016 to the point where 82.75% of all Turkish traffic has all but disappeared, indicating widespread #InternetShutdowns in the country.
This chart shows the evolution of visits to CAM4 from Turkey in 2016:
Initially, we wondered if this attack was targeted at the Adult Industry specifically. After all, this would not be the first time a government has attempted to ban Porn.
We all remember that time when CAM4 was banned in India…
We made some lighthearted fun of the 2015 India #pornban, since it only lasted three days and just sought to draw attention to absurdity of the Indian Government’s actions. The situation in Turkey, however, appears to be far more sinister and enduring.
It would appear CAM4 has been targeted as part of a wider crackdown on social networks in the country.
In November, the Telegraph reported that Turkey recently all but shut down Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, WhatsApp when most of the major social media networks had their traffic either throttled to the point where they were unusable, or cut off completely.
Turkish Internet freedom watchdog TurkeyBlocks believes Turkey may have recently introduced measures allowing the state to partially or fully restrict Internet access at any time of their choosing, citing “wartime emergencies” as justification to block #FreedomOfExpression.
New Internet Kill Switch law in effect?
TurkeyBlocks reported on a bill passed into law in Turkey in June 2016, nicknaming it “the Internet Kill Switch amendment.” The new law essentially allows the Government-run Information and Communication Technologies Authority in Turkey to “partially or entirely” suspend internet access due to war or national security reasons. The agency is no longer required to seek ministerial oversight to take such actions and ignore demands to #KeepItOn by organizations like TurkeyBlocks.org and @AccessNow.
In short, the Turkish government can readily censor or block access to the Internet within its borders, at any time they please, without justification.
Turkish users are also being restricted from accessing the Internet through VPN services, in particular the popular Tor Browser, which allows users to access the Internet anonymously, shielding their true location. Reports indicate the block on Tor is likely permanent.
CAM4 sees widespread blocks coming from a number of Turkish Internet Service Providers. This action has a harmful effect on the livelihoods of our Turkish performers.
The number of performers being tipped is down 87.27% as a result of the ISP blocks:
This is a direct result of our Turkish performers being unable to access the site to broadcast.
Just one year ago, there were more than 400,000 shows broadcast from Turkey. By December, this dropped to just 33,000, which amounts a whopping 91.75% decrease!
CAM4 cherishes freedom of expression for consenting adults, which is the very foundation upon which our community was built. So, any sign of government intervention is disturbing.
For many people, camming represents a viable opportunity to make a good living from the comfort and safety of their own home, so we are alarmed our Turkish users are being denied the opportunity to connect with our community and make a living on CAM4.
We continue to do what we can to re-establish access for all Turkish CAM4 users.