What is Bylock?
Tens of thousands of people in Turkey are arrested on account of having downloaded the “Bylock Secure Communication App”. The Erdogan regime regards the mere fact that one downloaded or used this app as sufficient evidence to incriminate him/her in terrorism charges.
Whether the Bylock App which constitutes the ground for detention of tens of thousands of people including teachers, journalists, artists, lawyers, academics, and even football players a handy pretext for mass arrests or a serious criminal finding is a question worthy of investigatory attention.
The latest report produced by the Human Rights Defenders, examines with a holistic approach how a communication app which could be downloaded from prevalent digital markets such as Googleplay or ITUNES, is exploited in such a way as to incriminate thousands of people. Lies manufactured and spread jointly by the Turkish Intelligence Agency (MİT), Police Forces, judicial authorities and pro-Erdogan news outlets have been revealed by international reputable forensic analysis firms and experts.
That being said, an international information technology firm (FOX-IT) concludes that the MIT report cannot be seen as a forensic analysis due to its utter disregard for forensic analysis principles. In its report, the FOX-IT follows that the MİT investigation is flawed in nature since it was conducted in a non-transparent and non-objective manner and it bases its conclusions upon conflicting and unfounded findings.
Besides, the latest report evinces that the Bylock data are gathered illegally and illegitimately, thanks to several international judicial reports as well as Turkish authorities’ confessionary statements and decisions.
Examining the ruling of the 16th Criminal Chamber of the Court of Cassation concluding that the Bylock findings are lawful evidence from a legal and technical perspective, the latest report identifies that the Bylock records which were retrieved within the scope of an intelligence work cannot be used in a court of law according the Turkish Criminal Procedural Law (CMK). The report also harbors legal opinions and case studies attesting to the fact that basic constitutional human rights were severely infringed due to the Bylock investigations.
The report brings attentions to the 2017 Freedom on the Net of the Freedom House which criticizes Turkey for arresting thousands of smart phone users for downloading a messaging app and which opines that basic human rights secured by the ECHR are violated.
The report also highlights that the Bylock has turned into a judicial mean of political oppression and this has created an outcry among international community and this tragedy has reflected to the reports written by the United Nations and European Union.
In the same vein, the statement by the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom on opinion David Kaye noting that the mere use of a cryptographic app cannot be deemed a crime is given space in the report. Lastly, the report refers to the basic conclusion of the International Amnesty that the mere downloading of an app cannot be criminalized.
All this aspects renders the report the most all-encompassing and comprehensive report which has ever been produced on the subject.