Photo sharing site no longer available in UAE

Flickr.com fans left high and dry as du joins Etisalat in blocking access to the website

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By  Vineetha Menon Published  March 19, 2009

The photo sharing website Flickr.com is no longer available in the UAE after du followed Etisalat in restricting access.

Etisalat first blocked the popular image and video hosting website, often touted as a poster child for the success of Web 2.0 applications, back in 2005. With changing directives set by the UAE’s Telecommunication Regulatory Authority, people were able to access the website off an on until 2007 when a crackdown on the site was explicitly called for.

Over the years, Etisalat subscribers have had access to sites such as Hi5, Youtube, MySpace and Flickr restricted based on guidelines by the TRA. However, users in free zones such as Dubai Media City and Dubai Internet City faced no such issues with their du connection. Until now.

Flickr enthusiasts now trying to log in to the site through du are met with the familiar ‘This website is not accessible in the UAE’ message stating that the site’s content falls under prohibited categories as defined by the TRA such as those that involve nudity, gambling or anything religiously offensive.

Du has so far refused to comment on its sudden change in decision to block access to Flickr.com earlier this week which has left many residents and professionals in the country frustrated.

3715 days ago
Nitu Bhojwani

It is yet again disappointing to know but not unexpected of TRA's unfair & irrational rules. I see no reason to block Flickr.

3737 days ago
alex

In relation to the Etisalat "appeals process" I have lodged many complaints about blocked sites (e.g. a UK holiday company) and none of them have ever been unblocked (nor have I received any correspondence from Etisalat explaining or even acknowledging their decision).

3742 days ago
MindSmith

Whilst I may sympathize with those that have non-offensive photo archives on flickr blocked; on some sites it is technically/practically difficult to block only offending pages. This is due on how the website is written and designed, and therefore there may be no other way for the ISPs to block only a set of profiles, but rather, only to block the entire site as per the stipulated laws and regulations of the land. If you feel the 'block' is unfair - you can follow the appeals process as listed by both Etisalat and du and also by the TRA - the process does work and many blocked sites have been unblocked/partially unblocked after successful appeal and review. Read the block message the next time you try to access flickr and follow the feedback/appeals process if you the block is unjustified.

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