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Turkey Evidences the Rise of Privacy

Personal privacy and freedom of internet access are quickly becoming considered human rights. This has been played out and proven in the past weeks in Turkey. The country’s Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, banned both Twitter and YouTube in a direct reaction to reports that evidence of corruption in his government has been posted on the aforementioned sites.

Although the ban has since been lifted, what is possibly more shocking is that while a court in Turkey's capital, Ankara, ordered the suspension of Erdogan's ban on Twitter, the Prime Minister chose to ignore this. An institution that was set up to defend peoples’ liberties was proven close to useless.

In these circumstances, people turned to technology in order to protect their personal freedoms. In the first 24 hours after the ban, Hotspot Shield, the world's most popular VPN, became one of the most searched for topics in Turkey.

The app went straight to the top of the Apple App Store and was downloaded over 270,000 times across all platforms in the first 24 hours of the ban. In this time period the average daily installs of the application on iOS rose by 21,346%, while it went up by 12,415% on Android. By the Monday after, Hotspot Shield had been downloaded over 1.1 million times in Turkey.

These phenomenal statistics demonstrate that the use of VPN technology is not confined to early adopters and the highly technically literate; it is widely used by a majority. With this change, technology has altered from something made for the few, into a society-shaping force.

While in Turkey users in their masses have adopted Hotspot Shield for freedom to access Twitter and YouTube, in the United States millions of users are adopting it for personal privacy online. Given rising concerns over the Edward Snowden revelations, tracking of our data by third-party websites without consumer knowledge or consent, and outbreaks of identity theft and malware, privacy is becoming the new megatrend globally. Given the power of the internet, individuals have far greater power than ever before and, although governments have attempted to crack down on internet democracy, they are like King Canute shouting at the waves.

The recent revelations of Snowden have shown that internet freedom is not assured, no matter where in the world you are. People in every country need to take steps to ensure their right to private, unfettered communication is upheld.

For every new way a government tries to stifle its citizens’ voices, a website creator tries to violate user privacy, or malware tries to penetrate a user’s smartphone, people will find tools that will grant them freedom and privacy. The incredible uptake of Hotspot Shield with 200 million global downloads, displays people’s desire to communicate and the transformative power of technology.

 

David Gorodyansky is the CEO and founder of AnchorFree which makes the free VPN, Hotspot Shield, intended to protect online privacy users everywhere. He regularly writes articles about internet security, privacy and entrepreneurship. Gorodyansky was born in Moscow, Russia and moved to California as a child.

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David Gorodyansky

David Gorodyansky is the CEO and founder of AnchorFree which makes the free VPN, Hotspot Shield, intended to protect online privacy users everywhere.

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