Earlier this month, a significant amount of private emails allegedly stolen from the email client of Berat Albayrak, Turkey’s Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, have been leaked online by a hacking collective Redhack. While the sensitive contents of Albayrak’s emails are still being examined by journalists and the general public, Turkey’s first response to the incident was to block all of the most popular cloud services in the country, including Google Drive, Dropbox, and Microsoft OneDrive. The services were blocked by the country’s Information and Communication Technologies Authority and the decision went into effect this past Saturday, October 8th.
All of the affected hosting solutions were blocked by all major carriers in Turkey: UyduNet, TTNet, and Turkcell. The ban affects both the desktop and browser versions of all services, as well as their mobile apps. In addition to that, Turkey also blocked the Git repository service GitHub on Sunday. It’s worth noting that most existing Google Drive customers can still access their data because Google’s hosting infrastructure is allegedly shared between all of its services. In other words, trying to access drive.google.com in Turkey would result in an SSL error but accessing the service while logged in will still open your personal cloud.
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Due to the fact that this ban is carried on through the country’s ISPs, all of the aforementioned services can still be accessed through roaming. Google received a generic notification about the ban yesterday while none of the other affected companies have yet been officially notified by Turkey’s government. The leak which prompted this censorship is over 17GB in size and includes more than 57,000 emails which Berat Albayrak has sent and received between April of 2000 and last month. A court in Ankara has subsequently ordered the block but due to the fact that the thereof was already issued, several censorship monitoring agencies and other NGOs are suspecting foul play. Interestingly enough, Mr. Berat Albayrak also happens to be the son-in-law of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the currently serving president of Turkey. None of the affected services have commented on this ban but more information is expected to follow soon as these Internet companies won’t be too happy about the fact that millions of their Turkish users are now prevented from accessing their files.