Demand for VPNs up 99 pct in Turkey in 2023: report

The demand for virtual private networks (VPNs) saw an increase of 99 percent in Turkey in 2023, Free Web Turkey reported, citing a study by Techopedia.

Turkey was noted in the study as being among countries with a considerable rise in VPN demand, along with Senegal, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Italy, Brazil and Iraq.

The study, titled “VPN Global Demand: Why These Countries Search for VPNs the Most,” explores the reasons behind the rising global interest in VPNs, which provide privacy and anonymity to internet users.

It concluded that a common theme among the countries that stood out was their poor human rights record and strict limitations on internet freedoms.

According to the study, one-fifth of those who use VPNs do so in order to hide their activity from authorities.

Internet freedom in Turkey steadily declined over the past decade, and the country was ranked among the “not free” countries concerning online freedoms, according to Freedom House’s latest report on internet freedom.

Turkish authorities routinely block access to news articles containing allegations of corruption, bribery, misconduct and nepotism implicating government officials or high-ranking bureaucrats.

Due to the government control over traditional media outlets, Turks seeking alternative sources of information often turn to social media. These platforms, however, have been obligated to appoint Turkey representatives and comply with court orders for content removal under a recently enacted social media law which threatened them with advertising bans and bandwidth reductions.

In late 2023 the Information and Communications Technologies Authority (BTK) banned access to 16 VPN providers frequently used to circumvent government censorship.

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