NetCleans products are not used by Turkey
Since summer 2014 there has been reoccurring rumours that NetClean’s products are used to monitor and block Internet traffic in Turkey.
We want to be extremely clear on this: NetClean’s products are not used by Turkey and have never been used by Turkey.
The short summery is as follows:
- Yes, via a partner we did have a dialogue with the Turkish State regarding solutions to stop child sexual abuse material.
- That dialogue solely pertained to stopping child sexual abuse material.
- We stand up for our viewpoint that it is right to try to detect and track child sexual abuse material.
- We would never allow for our products to be used to block anything other than child sexual abuse material.
- The dialogue with Turkey did not result in a business deal. NetCleans products are not used by Turkey, have never been used by Turkey and there are no ongoing discussions with Turkey, directly or through a partner.
- It is correct that Turkey monitors and blocks internet traffic, but they do not use NetClean’s products to do so.
The longer explanation follows below:
Yes, we did have a dialogue with Turkey
During 2014, we at NetClean, had a dialogue with the Turkish State through a partner regarding our products that are used to detect, track, and where it is appropriate, also block child sexual abuse material.
Solely to stop child sexual abuse material
That dialogue was only about detecting, tracking and blocking child sexual abuse material – nothing else.
We regulate the use of our products through technical and contractual measures, and would never allow for our products to be used in any other way.
We do occasionally get requests from countries or companies that want to block other material than child sexual abuse material. However, our products are not built to do that so the answer will continue to be negative. We will never allow for our products do be used for anything other than detecting, tracking and blocking child sexual abuse material.
To have discussions with Turkey
Considering Turkey’s history of censorship we did have discussions both internally and externally about whether it would be right to sell to Turkey. We came to the conclusion that it was right, as our tools are only built to stop child sexual abuse material. It cannot be wrong to sell products that save children from sexual abuse just because that country does other things that are wrong. That was our conclusion then and we are still comfortable with that.
All children deserve a childhood free from child sexual abuse
Another dimension to our decision was the need that we saw to protect children in Turkey. Today many websites in Turkey are blocked, but there is no blocking of child sexual abuse material.
Turkey is a country with 75 million people and a considerable problem with the spread of child sexual abuse material. That was confirmed by the law enforcement agencies that we spoke to (both Turkish and International). By scanning so called P2P networks the police could see that during 90 minutes in Turkey, about a 1000 people share child sexual abuse material.
NetClean is not used by Turkey
The discussion with Turkey never resulted in any business deal. As a result of political instability and the unrest around, and in, Turkey at the time, the focus was moved to other areas. That means that NetClean’s products are not used by Turkey and have never been used by Turkey. There is no ongoing dialogue, whatsoever, between NetClean and Turkey, neither directly nor through a partner.
Internet traffic is being monitored and blocked in Turkey, but not with the use of NetClean
Turkey today both monitors and blocks internet traffic. However, this is not done with the help of technology from NetClean.
A rumour catches on
False rumours that NetClean’s products could block individual tweets, erase material on other people’s servers and that the business deal was worth 40 million Euros started circulating during the summer of 2014. None of these claims are correct. As we were then in the middle of a business process with relationships and confidentiality agreements to consider, our ability to comment on the issue was restricted. Some of the claims, such as that the technology could block individual tweets and erase material on other people’s servers, were so mistaken that we first didn’t realise that they would and could catch on at all.
We are proud of what we do
We are immensely proud of what we do. For twelve years we have successfully worked to stop child sexual abuse, and developed world leading technical solutions to detect, track and block child sexual abuse material. Parallel to delivering NetClean ProActive and Whitebox to companies and the public sector in over 110 countries across the world, we have also developed one of the world’s best investigations tools for analyzing images and films (now in our sister company Griffeye). We are one of the initiators of Project VIC, with the aim to give law enforcement agencies the tools to collaborate across nations and borders, to be able to identify and rescue children that have been sexually abused. We work every day to make a difference in the work, and we will continue to stand for that in the future.