Welcome to the Media Law Roundup, a survey of the week’s developing media news.
At the end of last week Twitter users in Turkey began reporting the site was blocked in the country. Users trying to access the site were redirected to a statement by Turkey’s telecommunications regulator that informed users of a court order to apply “protective measures” to the website. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to “wipe out Twitter” after users spread allegations of corruption. Twitter itself filed a petition for lawsuits to challenge the access ban. While a March 26th court ruling overturned the government’s ban, the Turkish Telecommunication Directorate (TIB) has 30 days to unblock Twitter. If the TIB takes the full 30 days to lift the ban, the block will remain during Turkey’s local elections. On March 27th, Turkey blocked access to YouTube after leaked recordings of a high level security meeting about possible interventions in Syria surfaced on the platform. YouTube was blocked out of “national security concerns,” with the aim to prevent the “posting of other recordings that may threaten national security.” A source claimed that Turkey was in talks with YouTube and may lift the ban if the platform agrees to remove the content.
On March 25th, the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies approved the Marco Civil bill, the first major law in Brazil on internet rights, and includes provisions on net neutrality, data retention, privacy, rights and principles and intermediary liability. Though many believe that the approved text is not ideal, civil society and internet activists view the bill’s approval as a major victory, especially considering existing limitations. The bill will now move to the Senate for deliberation, and then return to the Chamber of Deputies before it is sanctioned by President Dilma Rousseff.
Google recently released its recent transparency update, renewing its call for government surveillance as results revealed the number of requests for user information it has received from governments has increased by 120% in the past for years. While part of the rise is attributed to an increase of users, Google claimed more governments were beginning to “exercise their authority to make requests.” In 2013 53, 356 requests were made globally, which does not include bulk surveillance carried out by the NSA. Google’s legal director Richard Salgado stated that “[Google] consistently [pushes] back against overly broad requests for… personal information.” From July to December 2013, 69% of the UK government’s 1,397 requests and 83% of the US’s 10,574 requests were granted.