On Saturday, network monitoring firms BGPMon and Renesys discovered a new stage in Turkey’s governmental social media blocking as the country’s citizens go to the polls this weekend. Turk Telekom is now rerouting requests to popular Domain Name Service servers outside the country—including Google’s public DNS server—so those requests instead go to a server within Turk Telekom’s network. Anyone within Turkey attempting to use Google DNS or a similar service as a way to gain access to Twitter or YouTube will instead be directed to a government DNS server where those services are blocked.
This means the Turkish government isn’t just blocking Twitter and YouTube, but it’s now able to log the IP addresses of any device attempting to reach the two services using foreign DNS servers. As BGPMon’s Andree Toonk noted in a blog post, “The current situation is concerning, and we don’t see this type of hijacking for DNS network very much, the only note worthy exception is China where we’ve observed this several times before.”
The Turkish government moved to block Twitter and YouTube because of alleged audio recordings of government officials, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, that were uploaded to the service along with written transcripts. The recordings included an alleged phone call between Erdoğan and his son discussing how to hide or get rid of large sums of money amid ongoing corruption investigations and a meeting of senior government officials discussing military options in Syria.
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