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22 January, 2005

End the proxy now: it is a national embarrassment

At times it is immensely difficult to take the pronouncements of senior Arabs with anything less than several container-loads of salt. Here we are in a country whose draconian internet censorship has long been a severe national embarrassment, yet the Information Minister claims to support total freedom of information.

"Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Information and Culture... called for legislation that guarantees free access to information and that prohibits any denial of access."

The UAE's internet censorship stretches far further than banning genuinely illegal/unislamic content such as porn and gambling. It blocks a vast range of sites from translation sites, networking and community sites to online flash games and humour. A huge proportion of celebrity and photos sites are banned, a lot of health information is unreachable, even news articles get banned if they carry certain words in their URLs. IP telephony sites are banned, certain downloading sites are banned, anything remotely "unsafe" from a political point of view (.il) is unreachable.

And over the past year monopoly state telco Etisalat/its Siamese twin the Ministry of "Information" have made it increasingly difficult to request to have innocent sites unblocked.

A huge battery of different censorship techniques are used: from lists of pre-blocked sites to dynamic/on-the-fly blocking of suspect URLs. The proxy servers struggle to cope with their own (pointless) workload, to the point that web browsing speeds are often half of what they actually could be.

Despite all this, the ardent cyber-censors are unable to block any P2P downloading. Nor can they block content sent by email. Nor can they stop chatlines. Porn floods in, not just from the web but also on pirated discs from Asia. And for Dh150 one can buy a "gold" satellite decoder card that unlocks international adult channels.

Internet censorship: embarrassing, futile, and a breach of basic human rights.

Labels: ,

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

BT also uses proxy
=====================
http://technology.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,,1704342,00.html

08 February, 2006 19:56  
Blogger mmrriad said...

hi
Here some cool proxy site

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18 May, 2007 14:37  
Blogger Jobi110 said...

www.Dubaiproxy.com is the best

04 November, 2007 14:17  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the best way to bypass any isp is by simply using SSH connection which is encrypted connection

at the moment I use Net Guard 2008
Link: http://www.securewebpoint.com/ProductsServices/NetGuard2008/Overview.html

and I'm paying £5.38 per month which isn't bad cause I use it when I go to dubai to use Skype and to browse the internet.

if the isp block you send them an e-mail and they will give you either a new IP or transfer you to a different server in a different country

26 March, 2008 10:45  

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