1,000 'offensive' websites to be unblocked

Du and Etisalat poised to be told to allow access to websites in new TRA internet policy.

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By  Andy Sambidge Published  July 31, 2008

Etisalat and Du will be told to unblock access to more than 1,000 websites that UAE censors had deemed offensive.

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) will instruct web service providers to unblock the sites as part of its new “internet access management” policy, UAE daily The National reported.

The new policy will require the government-controlled internet provider duopoly of Etisalat and Du to unblock the sites before Aug. 29.

While TRA officials were unable to specify the websites that will be unblocked, the paper says they are likely to include internet forums and social networking sites whose administrators have removed material that TRA officials considered questionable or offensive.

Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, TRA board member and director general, said: "We have always considered the interests and benefits of consumers throughout the formulation of this policy, which laws are directed to protect Internet users, because we believe in the role of the internet as a primary mean of acquiring knowledge.

"Given the fact of the commercial, economic and media work environment of many governmental bodies and institutions in the country, the TRA has implemented some exceptions on blocking access to certain websites, which contents may be commensurate with the nature of their work, where they might be in dire need to know vital information via the Internet that is at the core of their work. We don't want the blocking system to have a negative impact on their work and activity."

3360 days ago
Luis

It is simply amazing how concerned these people are with my "moral" health, how they want to ban the use of vpn and how little they care about gaping holes in their own systems. I am using du (not sure how things are for Etisalat) and they have not fixed yet the issues with DNS vulnerabilities. I just checked and this is what I got: Your name server, at 80.227.2.2, appears vulnerable to DNS Cache Poisoning. All requests came from the following source port: 32799 This is several weeks after a very serious issue that threatens the security of all users was published... I guess they are too busy to patch their systems.

3361 days ago
Rainigade

What I do in the privacy of my own home is up to me. If I choose to spend my evenings on Facebook and MySpace, blogging till the cows come home, how is that offensive to anyone in this country - either Muslim or Non-Muslim? If a site is completely against someone's values, they shouldnt be visiting it in the first place. For non-pornographic sites, I don't understand the censorship. It should be MY choice. And protecting my children from the dangers of this world is MY responsibility. I don't need a government organisation to tell me what they can and cannot access. Or for that matter, what I - as an adult - can and cannot access. Having said that, these are the laws of the land. As with many other things - you don't like it that much, you leave. If you stay, you respect them. Then again - just because I accept it, doesn't mean I have to like it, do I?

3361 days ago
David

Surely web sites that do contain adult materials or sites that are not inline with the culture in the UAE - wouldn't /shouldn't be visited anyway??? Some Newspaper sites are blocked - is that for the best interest of the younger generation? I agree that blogging sites like Facebook and MySpace should be banned or the TRA should have a pre-registration page to enable control of who goes on thus giving the government control and peace of mind on who is on and who shouldn't......

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