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KACST accelerates crack-down

King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) will double the number of Internet sites it blocks in Saudi Arabia over the next two months.

King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) will double the number of Internet sites it blocks in Saudi Arabia over the next two months.

That will take the number of blocked sites to over 400,000, up from the current 200,000.

KACST sources quoted in Arab News say that there has been no change in policy over the blocking of sites, merely that efforts to protect the Kingdom from pornography and sites that "compromise policitical and social subjects that violate the country's laws" have been accelerated.

Staying one step of the exploding number of new pornography sites on the Web is proving a major challenge for KACST and it is looking at mechanisms that would give them immediate information on a site as soon as it opens so that they can be screened.

This challenge comes on top of the difficulties of segregating acceptable and unacceptable content on many of the world's largest portals. Yahoo! and MSN, for example, are increasingly populated by material from the public. The personal Web sites that these sites offer the public for free have become hotbeds for the exchange of pornography and other immoral material.

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