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19 November, 2006

Farewell, freedom

What exactly is the TRA's bone with Tecom? In five years of free internet access, has there really been some vast porn-and-Israel-fuelled surge in immorality in the free zones, leading to the breakdown of the precious UAE culture and society as we know it?

No. But nonetheless, the TRA has sand in its crotch. Perhaps it's the prospect of a programmer at Tech Inc being able to read FHM online? Or maybe it's the thought of a BBC journalist being able to access a site in the Israeli .il domain? Or possibly it's the image of some advertising exec updating their details on FriendsReunited?

Whatever the reason, the TRA has decided to wield the Great Axe of Proxy:

"Unlike etisalat, [Tecom] does not use a proxy server that can prohibit access to undesirable sites such as those featuring pornography.

"However, as part of the process to allow du to provide internet services beyond these zones, the TRA will introduce a uniform proxy server across the UAE."

Well, hooray. Finally all of us at Tecom can get away from our porn and dating sites and gay and lesbian information and VoIP portals and Israeli newspapers and start leading decent, desirable lives.

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Blogger Taunted said...

Heard this on the radio this morning - so we're going backwards not forwards. Do you think it will encorage more orgs like Reuters or CNN to come to Dubai?

Didn't think so - cutting off their nose to spite their face methinks

19 November, 2006 13:43  
Blogger SIN said...

Without sounding patronising by using the age-old cliche..we should have seen this was only a matter of time.

With du getting it's paws into the country's telecom network, they had to have a uniform proxy server or risk etisalat clients jumping ship.

I wonder though, why couldn't they not use a filter for the freezones, and I truly wonder how international media giants like CNN and BBC will react to this.

Literally, in this age of moving forward with the times, we have ended up taking five steps backwards.

19 November, 2006 13:46  
Blogger anonymous lurker said...

like most things in the uae, this edict will be so full of caveats and backdoor exemptions that it will barely accomplish anything at all. i'm sure the big companies (cnn, reuters) will get some grand 'Shk Mo says' exemption while the little people out at the greens will be proxied.

19 November, 2006 17:28  
Blogger Kiwi Boy said...

Just read about this on the UAE Community Blog, but nobody pokes fun at it like you do, SD. It's a temporary cheer-up for us before we join the Cult of the Blocked Sites.

19 November, 2006 17:52  
Blogger Wobblydangly said...

"Most people do not want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility and most people are frightened by responsibility"

How Apt.......

Again those people that need to access proxy avoidance sites.......

19 November, 2006 18:43  
Blogger Nuppo said...

Cool. Everybody is finally equal.

And now also the freezoners will have the privilege to experience the rush of adrenaline when they learn how to beat Big Bro (similar feeling to overtake a Nissan Sunny from the right...)

19 November, 2006 20:53  
Blogger marwan said...

Thanks TRA!

I'm going to buy a guillotine and sit in it.

19 November, 2006 23:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“Well, hooray. Finally all of us at Tecom can get away from our porn and dating sites and gay and lesbian information and VoIP portals and Israeli newspapers and start leading decent, desirable lives.”

TRA doesn’t block israeli newspapers. They block the .IL domain as they block the .IL people to enter the UAE, guess why?
The following sites are some of the many israeli newspapers that anyone can access:

20 November, 2006 00:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is indeed a sad day for all of us in UAE. Instead of the censor-free module of the free zones being adopted for the rest of Dubai, the reverse has been chosen.

I live in Bur Dubai and the freedom to surf the internet without hurting the religious, moral, cultural and ethical sentiments of the UAE was one of the reasons I was considering shifting to the free zones. But that reason will no longer exist.

The freedom to choose doesn't dilute society and its morals. In fact it strengthens them.

20 November, 2006 10:12  
Blogger LadyOnTheTop said...

as i read from somewhere before, cnn,reuters dont have an operation office here, the big signs on those buildings are merely for propaganda purpose. anyone go check our their so called office in the building they may just find a security guard.

watch cnn and bbc a lot, never saw ' this betsy anderson reporting from dubai office'

20 November, 2006 10:35  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is sad and it is backward to have any form of censorship. As investors review the attractions of being in the region, the exceptionally high costs, transport problems, telecommunications limitations on technology and now internet censorship means that more firms will look outside the UAE for a home. Do as I did and leave before it is too late and VAT comes in.

20 November, 2006 10:38  
Blogger al-republican said...

I support the proxy! But, I guess that was expected from me :P

20 November, 2006 11:27  
Blogger S. said...

Well, this was only a matter of time. DU hasnt started ops yet and etisalat already feels so threatened.. Nice..

The proxy isnt a problem though. Most tech savvy people in Dubai know how to bypass it anyways. I have access to whatever catches my fancy with just a few mouse clicks..

20 November, 2006 13:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great! Two of us engineers and my company will be leaving shortly! Then the military can wait for service...Plan on telling them why when we go....
They will figure it out when the expat experts bail out, and leave them to do their own work. Too bad Shaikh Zayed is not still alive to straighten out these dummies! Check out the UK daily Telegraph to see comments about this problem with advice...don't go there!

20 November, 2006 18:41  
Blogger Matt in Dubai said...

aaaaaargh! bastards! there are ways around it though, there are quite few ip-less portals i know of

20 November, 2006 19:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lady0nthetop...Contrary to what your comment above, CNN reports from their office in Dubai. Want a photo from inside the office? Check out the blog The staff gave us a tour and spoke about their commitment to telling stories from the region. They do excellent work !
So please don't embarrass yourself, and fellow bloggers, by making more ludicrous comments like all the office has is "a security guard."

20 November, 2006 19:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is definitely a newsworthy:

20 November, 2006 21:27  
Blogger LadyOnTheTop said...

uae student

as i said at the beginning of post, thats what i read somewhere and it was from a local newspaper. sorry i dont have time go search the origin of it and thanks for the info to straight this out. however i dont appreciate your tone much. There is no need of the kind of word like 'ludicrous' here.

hey sam and matt in dubai,any hint on how to by pass the proxy? friend gave me some sites but they never work well.

21 November, 2006 09:10  
Blogger S. said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

21 November, 2006 15:19  
Blogger Earthbound Misfit said...

I can't believe no one has picked up on this story .

One can easily deduce how this poor lady has ended up in this state.

One thing, I always thought it took two people to commit adultery. What happened to the other one? Or was it a Jinn she had seduced?

22 November, 2006 15:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, hooray. Finally all of us at Tecom can get away from our porn and dating sites and gay and lesbian information and VoIP portals and Israeli newspapers and start leading decent, desirable lives."

Although that I hate some of your remarks about locals like myself, nevertheless the way you think is really no different than most of us, or at least I. It is a shame that you are not citizen because we need more Emaratis like you. Finally, will you marry me (as a second wife of course)?

23 November, 2006 11:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eat salad, Du Du , poo poo ,
Dont worry folks captain marvel will save you, so you can surf to infinity and beyond via any website you like.

This country might be going backwards but technology keeps moving on , I use Ghostsurf which encrypts all the data
so the Eat salad proxy just see goobledegook instead of
and hey presto I love Dubai. Internet censorship you say surely not.

27 November, 2006 00:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reuters and CNN do have staff in their offices in Dubai, but nowhere near as many as the signage would suggest.

Same thing goes for the big corps in DIFX.

It's all PR, and pretty clever PR at that.

28 November, 2006 09:31  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

seems that, according to, is also blocked. lets have people get more viruses, shall we?

06 February, 2007 23:49  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guys, "freedom to surf" ? You kidding !!!
Unless Du or any other rising tel company provides users with proxy-free connections average users (Like you) will never find a way to bypass it. NEVER !!! There are currently ways to bypass such stuff with ease, but I'm not sure how long are they going to be hidden in the dark. As for me, I've been exploiting the system since I was 17 years old & have no problems what so ever with censorship.

TIP: Use a proxy to do the trick.
Port 8080,80 are blocked, so I suggest using 444 & higher digit numbers (eg. 542214)

Cheers ; )


06 March, 2007 02:07  

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