Web blocking 2.0

The saga of UAE web blocking lumbered into a new phase this week, as Etisalat started to unblock a number of sites that were previously banned

Tags: CensorshipEmirates Telecommunications CorporationTelecommunications Regulatory Authority - UAE
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By  Mark Sutton Published  August 28, 2008

The saga of UAE web blocking lumbered into a new phase this week, as Etisalat started to unblock a number of sites that were previously banned. The changes were made without any particular announcement by either Etisalat or the TRA, although they came just ahead of an apparent deadline to unblock 'one thousand' web sites by 29th August.

As usual, its a case of more questions than answers though, as no official list of unblocked sites has been released and no explanation was given for why some sites are now considered OK, while similar sites are still blocked.

So far it looks like at least a half dozen high profile sites like Twitter and Live Journal have been opened up, along with less well known sites like Bright Kite, but with notable exceptions such as Orkut and Flickr, which remain blocked... Confusing to say the least. Without any master list of blocked sites, working out what's no longer blocked is just about impossible.

There's also no word yet from the TRA on what changes, if any, have been made to the how and the why of web blocking policy in the UAE, and there's also no explanation as to why Etisalat blocks some sites that du doesn't.

We're still trying to speak to the TRA about this, so perhaps they might shed some light on the situation.

In the meantime, for all those that were worried that they were missing out on some essential Web 2.0-ey social interaction, feel free to twitter away to your heart's content.

2809 days ago
Aoutec

All the countries in the world who ban or discourage VoIP calls must be removed from the internet till such time they are ready with their policies and service providers. VoIP is one of the prime features of Internet widely used all over the world today. But some countries term it as illegal as their local telephone companies are losing the revenue owing to their laziness in bringing up the new technologies. When the commonman tries to make cheap calls thru VoIP, he is harassed. forced to make internation calls thru local telecom companies. Ane these age old telecoms can not even send picture messages to many countries and also they do not have normal telephone service to all the countries of the world. Most of the time their networks come busy whereas thru VoIP, one can reach instantly to any corner of the globe. So, all such counries should be banned totally from Internet by ICAN.

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