Turkey tightens Internet controls, weeks into new government

ANKARA - Turkey's parliament passed a law tightening Internet controls and expanding the powers of its telecoms authority late on Monday, weeks after a new government took office pledging the beginning of a "new Turkey".
The move comes on top of legislation passed in February that made it easier for the authorities to block access to web pages without a prior court order, prompting public anger and raising concern about free speech.
The new law expands those powers, allowing the TIB telecoms authority to block sites if it is deemed necessary for matters of "national security, the restoration of public order and the prevention of crimes". The February law limited these powers to cases of privacy violations.
The new legislation also gives the TIB, which reports to the prime minister's office, access to individuals' browsing history without a court order.
The reforms are part of the first package of legislation passed by parliament since Tayyip Erdogan, prime minister for more than a decade, was sworn in as president last month.
Erdogan won Turkey's first popular vote for the presidency on Aug. 10 after one of his most difficult years in office, rebounding from protests against his perceived authoritarianism last summer and a corruption scandal a few months later.
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