Move along, nothing to see here

Hot on the heels of the all new Internet Access Management policy comes the all new Site Blocked warning screen!

Tags: CensorshipTelecommunications Regulatory Authority - UAE
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By  Mark Sutton Published  August 31, 2008

Hot on the heels of the all new Internet Access Management policy comes the all new Site Blocked warning screen! The new warning screen, introduced today, isn't massively different to the old one, with the exception of a link to a .pdf that spells out some of the details of the new policy...

In the absence of any solid info from the TRA, here's what you'll find in the new rules:

Prohibited Content Categories

1. Internet Content for Bypassing Blocked Content

This category includes Internet Content that allows or assist Users to access Blocked Content.

2. Internet Content for Learning Criminal Skills

This category includes Internet Content that either provides instructions for or identifies methods to promote, encourage or provide the skills to commit illegal or criminal or unethical activities. These include bomb-making, phreaking (breaching phone security or phone service theft), scams and fraud, terrorism, evading law enforcement, stalking, lock picking, selling pirate material such as commercial software, music, videos or others.

3. Dating Internet Content

This category includes Internet Content that provides online dating or matchmaking which contradicts with the ethics and morals of the UAE.

Exemptions: Chatting services, chatting groups, social networking and forums.

4. Internet Content for Illegal Drugs

This category includes Internet Content that provides information on purchasing, manufacturing, promoting and using illegal drugs.

5. Internet Content containing Pornography and Nudity

This category includes Internet Content that contains material of a pornographic nature, or relates or depicts acts of homosexuality, nudity and sexual material (including stories, jokes, animations, and video) or Internet Content that promotes sexual activity. It includes Internet Content which promote the distribution of above material (such as Peer-to-Peer websites and links).

6. Gambling Internet Content

This category includes Internet Content that is relevant to gambling or such as gambling links, tips, sports picks, lottery results, as well as horse, car or boat racing.

7. Internet Content for Hacking and Malicious Codes

Exemptions: Information security including ethical hacking.

8. Internet Content that are offensive to Religions

This category includes Internet Content that contains material which expresses hate to religions.

9. Phishing Internet Content

This category includes Internet Content where entities or persons falsely represent themselves as a “legitimate” businesses or enterprises for the purpose of deceiving and obtaining form Users, valuable information such as bank account or email account information including details such as usernames, passwords, credit card details or bank account details.

10. Internet Content that downloads Spyware

This category includes Internet Content that downloads Spyware which gathers private information of the users without his or her knowledge.

11. Internet Content providing Unlicensed Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service

This category includes Internet Content that allows access to services which are prohibited in accordance with the TRA’s Voice over Internet Protocol Policy.

12. Terrorism Internet Content

This category includes Internet Content of terrorism groups and related Internet Content that support terrorism and publish and distribute materials for terrorism or include material for training and encouraging terrorism or help to serve terrorism groups such as funding, facilitating communication and other direct and indirect services.

13. Prohibited Top Level Domain (TLD)

This category includes Internet Content under a Top Level Domain names which offends against, is objectionable to, or is contrary to the public interest, public morality, public order, public and national security, Islam morality or is otherwise prohibited by any applicable UAE law, regulation, procedure, order or requirement.

Nothing new here - still no Skype, no dating sites and so on.

I'm not sure that sites that contained spyware or phishing were specifically singled out for blocking in the previous policy, but I suppose if you are not already using some sort of Internet security software that includes warnings for suspect sites, then a bit of extra idiot-proofing won't go amiss. Most likely the blocking of these sites will be done by an existing security company, in order that blocks go up quickly enough.

The other question this raises for me is how the TRA is going to be able to distinguish between the various categories and exceptions? How will they decide on the difference between social networking and dating, or sites meant for ethical hacking and those for plain old criminal hacking? Something tells me its going to be more arbritary decisions in future.

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