Provisions Concerning Telecoms and Intelligence

As telecommunication and internet are seen as strategic fields in collecting technical and instant intelligence, changes were made in order to strengthen the supervision in these fields.

Amendments were made to the Law no. 5651 on Regulating Online Publications and Preventing Crimes Committed Thereby; the Telecoms Communication Directorate was closed down and its powers transferred to the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTİK) (Executive Decree 671 Article 20-23). With the closure of the former, well known for its resolutions banning access to various web sites and social media accounts, the latter has concentrated in itself all the authority in this area, which was previously shared by other state agencies working on internal security such as Gendarmerie General Command, National Intelligence Service and General Directorate of Security.

Law no. 2559 on Police Powers and Duties was amended, such that, communication related action performed via telecommunication and wiretapping in the scope of the Law no. 5271 on Criminal Procedure will be organized centrally by a single unit under Information and Communication Technologies Authority (Executive Decree 671 Article 24). Furthermore, various clauses were added to the Law no. 5809 on Electronic Communication. Accordingly, the Information and Communication Technologies Authority has to implement within two hours the Prime Minister’s Office’s decisions concerning bans of access (and these decisions shall be submitted for approval to the criminal court of peace within 24 hours) (Executive Decree 671 Article 25). As such, the judge has to announce her / his verdict within 48 hours, otherwise the decision will be deemed void. Accordingly, the institution can demand information, documents, data and records from relevant agencies; it can access the archives, electronic data processing centers and communication infrastructure, and take or have taken all the necessary measures in this regard; it can request any kind of information within the scope of its mission from real or legal persons subject to private or public law; real and legal persons in this context cannot avoid fulfilling the provisions of the legislation they are subject to even by presenting a pretext, otherwise they will be subject to sanctions (Executive Decree 671 Article 25).

Another important amendment to the Law no. 2559 stipulated that, in cases of crimes committed online, the police can access the identities of involved Internet subscribers, and conduct online investigations to allow the authorized public prosecutor’s office to start its investigation. Access providers, location providers and content providers are under the obligation of providing any information demanded for this reason to the law enforcement unit created to fight against such crimes (Executive Decree 680 Article 27).

Still in the Law no. 2559, the expression “in order to prevent crimes in print, the judge’s verdict or in non-delayable cases a decision of the General Director of Security or the Intelligence Department Head” has been changed as “in order to prevent print or online crimes, the judge’s verdict or in non-delayable cases a decision of the General Director of Security, Intelligence Department Head, or in the case of online crimes the online crimes department head”. The following phrase was added to the same paragraph after where it says “communication via telecoms”: “or data transferred by data traffic among internet resources via internet connection addresses” (Executive Decree 680 Article 28). Also in the same paragraph, the expression “or the communication connection” has been replaced with “the relevant internet connection address or connection”.

Provisions Concerning Telecoms and Intelligence