September 19, 2021

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The Internet worries the leaders of many countries.  In Turkmenistan, people have to choose between a sacred promise or surfing freely.

The Internet worries the leaders of many countries. In Turkmenistan, people have to choose between a sacred promise or surfing freely.

They should get their hands on the Quran and swear: Never use a VPN to surf the Internet illegally.

Free internet access is not something the people of Turkmenistan can take for granted. Here from the capital Ashgabat in November last year.

– I waited for a year and a half after I filled out all the necessary documents and signed the forms where I asked for wi-fi, says Internet user Ainur in Turkmenistan Radio Free Europe (RFE).

– Now they say I have to swear on the Quran that I will never use a VPN. But nothing is available without VPNs. I have no idea what to do.

A journalist at RFE was the first to report that the Central Asian country’s Ministry of Security is making all internet users put their hands on the Quran and pledge that they will never use a VPN when surfing the internet.

Bypass obstruction

The abbreviation stands for Virtual Private Network. Turkmenistan is one of the countries in the world that imposes strict restrictions on the sites that its citizens are allowed to visit. Displays an overview of the network service provider comparison.

But with a VPN, people can bypass censorship and browse freely.

It’s like using someone else’s computer, or a computer you trust, to connect to the Internet for you, says Mallory Noodle Politico.

She is the chief technology officer of the American think tank the Center for Democracy and Technology. She says VPNs are traditionally used to connect to a workplace’s intranet when you’re not in the office.

But in countries where the internet is censored, many people use VPN to visit regular websites.

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In both China and Russia, there are strict restrictions on the websites that citizens of the country can access. The same goes for Cuba.

In the US, many struggle to create their own VPNs for Cubans.

“This is one of the most effective ways that people on the island can access information outside of the regime’s control,” said Senator Bob Menendez’s spokesman, Juan Bacon.

– Passion added that Menendez worked through several different channels to support this initiative.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) visited Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov (right) in 2017. Both countries are trying to prevent citizens from surfing the Internet freely.

Amnesty: Attacks on Freedom of Expression

The authorities in Turkmenistan are not the only ones who do not like the possibilities offered by VPNs.

Last year, India cracked down on VPN use in the disputed and partially autonomous region of Kashmir, which is divided between India and Pakistan.

Then India ruled that people using VPN could be prosecuted under the new anti-terror law South China Morning Newspaper. The offenders could face up to seven years in prison, according to Amnesty International India.

The organization also responded to the fact that news sites, including TUT.by, were blocked in Belarus.

– The blockade of TUT.by is a widespread attack on freedom of expression and media freedom in Belarus, NS Aisha Jung at Amnesty in Belarus in May.