It's confusing to keep track over what's being blocked and what is not, my young relatives told me they had been blocked from their Farmville farms a couple of weeks ago because of another crass Turkish internet ban against a company called Zynga.com. They didn't specifically have a problem with online virtual farms but the company also made some poker and gambling games that were also on facebook so they blocked the lot.
There are thousands of web sites blocked in Turkey but the list seems to fluctuate, Youtube, Myspace and facebook are often blocked and then un-blocked depending on who seems be controlling these stupid censorship policies. The reasons vary from insults to Kemal Ataturk, music piracy, religious complaints ( Richard Dawkins website got banned because he called a book on creationism a load of rubbish). The list goes on - one day you'll be happy watching Youtube online on the Anatolian coast, the next surfing the net trying to find out how to un block Youtube again.
Even the way they block the web sites is a little amateurish, many of them use DNS Censorship, which is merely changing the DNS tables so that you get redirected to another web page instead of the evil blocked one.
It's not a very impressive way of blocking a web site and is easily circumvented by making sure you get the right IP address not the web page above. There are loads of ways of doing this, including hardcoding the DNS entries in your host files as I explained in my earlier blog post on DNS censorship, another simple method is to use OpenDNS (free application at opendns.com) - which will stop the Turkish ISPs messing around with your DNS access.
Unblock YouTube without DNS
Sometimes these don't work though and you'll have to use either a proxy or a VPN solution to bypass the restrictions. Fortunately I and most of my friends in Turkey are not affected by this as we are already using Identity Cloaker to watch the BBC, Hulu and ABC when we are in Turkey, this also means that we automatically bypass all the Turkish censorship rules. We were also able to use Identity Cloaker to access to Farmville whilst that particular stupid ban was in place, you just point your browsing at one of the proxies from a country that doesn't ban Youtube, Myspace and Facebook applications !
Any proxy should work though, although the free ones get banned and blocked so you'll probably have to change them quite often. But it's the principal, make sure you don't get blocked however you do it, YouTube should not be blocked by a Government !!
Turkey have even just banned some gay sites (gabile. com and hadigayri. com) last month, they were not even pornography but simply gay social networking sites. It's extremely worrying and it makes me sad as I do spend a lot of time in this wonderful country, but sifting through Youtube and then banning the site when they find a couple of videos offensive is like closing off a library because you don't like two of the books in there.
I'd like to throw in a comment here from Kemal Ataturk, I'm sure he wouldn't have been impressed with the current Turkish Governments approach to democracy, particularly online.
Every man can follow his own conscience, provided it does not interfere with sane reason or bid him against the liberty of his fellow-men.All this censorsip won't affect me as I bypass these restrictions because I can afford to pay for an application, but not everyone is so lucky - if you want more information on what is happening in Turkey I urge you to read the report on Internet Censorship in Turkey at the Cyber Liberties Web Site. It's all very well some us being able to easily un block Youtube but we shouldn't need to !!
Anyway just in case this post is getting a bit serious (because it annoys me so much!), check this video for for some up to date information about Twitter getting blocked.