Etisalat's proxy server overdoes it a bit

Proxy servers have a job to do, but surfers in the UAE got a surprise when they tried to access the Dubai air show Web site today.

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By  David Ingham Published  August 9, 2001

Proxy servers are certainly well intended. Many regional telcos and ISPs have installed them in an effort to protect Internet users from sites that may be offensive to their religious and cultural beliefs.

Sometimes, however, technology can get it completely wrong.

One example of how a proxy can do its job TOO well comes in the form of the Web site for the Dubai 2001 air show.

When users tried to access the site this morning at: http://www.dubai-2001.com the familiar ‘Blocked Site’ message appeared, followed by this advice: ‘Emirates Internet denies access to this site.’

And the reason? According to a technical source, the site is hosted at: http://www.fairsexhibs.com/

The source believes that the Etisalat proxy reads that fairly innocuous URL as something slightly more sinister — ‘fairSEXhibs.’

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