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The Turkish government has retaliated against a number of Twitter profiles that posted links to a compromised database stolen from a national police server. The users, which includes two Anonymous-affiliated accounts, sent out notifications to millions of followers containing a direct link to a huge 17.8GB-sized trove of sensitive data earlier this month.
One account now blocked in Turkey is the notorious @CthulhuSec, which in the past has been used by the Anonymous hacking collective to spread leaks across the web, including the contents of a database reportedly stolen from a major US-based police union in January. On 25 February, the user of @CthulhuSec was sent a notice by Twitter outlining how the Turkish government was taking steps to block a slew of accounts related to hacktivism and data dumps. True to form, @CthulhuSec decided to post everything online.
"I received some legal papers from Twitter served to them by the Turkish government," the self-described technology and privacy activist said. "As this process is normally quite opaque and I am not really known for giving a damn, I feel like this may be more useful in the public domain."
'Content deletion request'
The letter from Twitter said: "We are sending this e-mail in order to inform you of the content deletion request sent by the Telecommunications Directorate to Twitter regarding your Twitter account @CthulhuSec. The Telecommunications Directorate decision must be sent to court and a court decision must be made within 48 hours [...] if you are considering making an appeal to this court decision in the Turkish courts, please get in touch with us as soon as possible."
According to the attached documentation, which was transcribed from Turkish into English before being posted online, the government had described the activist as a threat to public order and national security.
The filings added: "It is requested by the Security Affairs General Directorate of the Prime Ministry of the Turkish Republic in writing that a decision be taken to remove the content of and/or block access to the attached list of internet addresses found in the internet environment within the scope of non-delayable cases of content that threatens public order or national security by applauding terrorism or provoking violence or crime."
Among the accounts targeted by the government security affairs division were @CthulhuSec, @YourAnonNews, @CryptOnymous and also an alleged news organisation called KurdishDailyNews.org.
"With the justification stated above in relation to the Prime Ministry's request regarding the publication in the internet environment in connection with the prevention of crime being committed and the protection of public order and national security from the applauding of terrorism and provocation of violence or crime, the decision has been given – it is approved," the court filings concluded.
After receiving the notifications, the various accounts appeared to take it in their stride. In many cases, it was a badge of honour. While @CthulhuSec changed its bio to read 'certified terrorist by Turkey' the @CryptOnymous page now only displays one post: "Never have been a fan of censorship".