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The AKP government has constructed an online surveillance regime (not to mention censorship) via various legal and technical means. This article analyzes the emergence and expansion of online surveillance within the context of the AKP’s authoritarian practices that are interwoven with its nationalist and populist politics.
It begins with an overview of legal and technical initiatives aimed at enhancing online surveillance, data collection and retention. It then focuses on the AKP’s recent strategies designed to bolster this online surveillance regime such as the institutionalization of online “snitching” via a newly-introduced social media app that enables citizen-informants to “report terrorists” to the authorities.
The article argues that the AKP’s recent strategies and rationalities to regulate the conduct of online users are aligned with principles of “governing at a distance” and are informed by both its authoritarianism (exemplified by the repression of all forms of dissent in the broader media ecosystem) and its right-wing nationalism and populism (as seen in the stigmatizing of critical voices and/or certain groups as sources of threat, labelling them as “being against the nation” and as “terrorists”).
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