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The TRA (Telecom Regulatory Authority) determines what internet censorship policy is in the UAE, Du and not the telecom firms Etisalat, even though residents will believe that Etisalat in particular is the decider of , what’s and isn’t permitted. This understanding is perhaps since there are a number of places in the Du Telecom network which have no, or less, censorship of the world wide web, the TECOM place as well as for example Dubai Media Zone. The TRA has said in 2009 and 2008 that these places must come under the UAE censorship policy however.
Internet censorship for the most part, isn’t too draconian. Surely, much less someplace like Iran or China . It might be uncommon that any news is censored news critical. The filtering policy concentrates on other culturally or religiously offensive internet content, and porn, relationship, betting. For a lot of families, the blocking of pornography could be considered a plus when contemplating a move. And people who urgently need to gain access to the sites that are blocked generally locate a method (using a VPN is one of the ways to gain access to sites that are blocked from that which we have learned).
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The most irritating censorship will probably function as the growing amount of Wikipedia pages which can be blocked; Skype (upgrade: Skype is reachable in the UAE from 2013) and other VOIP sites; sites like www.couchsurfing.org (upgrade: reachable in 20130 but appears to come and go); and some search terms. Kids seeking feline associated content might wonder what they have done wrong when entering one specific synonym to get kitten or a cat for example. Or anyone needing to do a bit of research into casinos or gambling will see their web searches return no results. One wonders Dubai World (a Dubai Government owned business) ever was able to find enough info to feel confident about investing in vegas out. On the other hand, had they had the opportunity to seek more freely online in the UAE, maybe they might not have lost quite so much cash on their risk … er … investment with MGM, the casino operator.
Most of the time a message will appear when a web site is blocked, that causes it to be clear the UAE authorities have obstructed the website. Sometimes though Network Error kind message, or a clean page will seem, leaving viewers perplexed as to whether a site was blocked, or there actually is an issue with all the web site. It is not clear firms and telecom authorities are unwilling to let customers know about web filtering for a number of websites.
List of TRA web site types to be blocked in the UAE
- Internet Content that contradicts using morals and the ethos including Relationship and Nudity.
- Internet Content which has content which expresses loathe to faiths.
- Internet Content that isn’t inline.
- Internet Content that help users to get or enable Blocked Content.
- Internet Content that indirectly or right make up a hazard on UAE web users including Spywares, Hacking tools & Phishing sites.
- Internet Content that’s not irrelevant to gaming.
- Internet Content offering info on buying, producing, using and encouraging substances that are illegal.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) reports on internet censorship
2010 HRW report on UAE (released 26 January 2011) noted that sites that have been blocked in 2010 contained www.localnewsuae.com, www.uaehewar.net (UAE Hewar) with its discussion forums (issues include freedom of expression and politics) along with its Facebook and Twitter pages.
“The UAE should take a very long, hard look at what the results are to authorities that suppress the rights of its own citizens to speak out or that believe they are able to command the advice folks share. Tunisians will not be the sole ones in the Arab world that will insist that no government is entitled to trample their rights.” – Powerful opinions (HRW) . As it occurred, Tunisia had not been the sole Middle East nation whose citizens had something to say – Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Yemen all had varying levels of unrest in February 2011 with Libya in particular descending into what looked like civil war to a lot of observers.
News and updates about internet censorship
07 June 2012 (Emirates 247) – Major General Khamis Matar Al Mazinah, deputy police commander in Dubai, was reported as saying “Twitter and Facebook will not be under outside [sic – our?] control or censorship because 24-7 honor the privacy of individuals…we don’t want to track their keys and life details … Dubai authorities are simply required in a procedure for follow up just in case a user commits an offence on his page like insulting others…in this instance, the consumer will likely be recognized and prosecuted according to regulations.”
Websites unblocked and blocked in the UAE
Classes that are general (a Gulf News report 28 December 2009 said The TRA list of sites that are forbidden contain those on illegal substances, porn, gaming, voice over internet protocol (VoIP), and the ones that offer advice or training on terrorist-related tasks).
Etisalat appears to be much more rigorous than Du at blocking sites, so in the event you urgently need to get a web site that’s blocked when connected via Etisalat, one way would be to use a Du connection – see a friend or coffee shop in a free zone in Dubai for example (Du is usually the ISP in Dubai free zones), or attempt using a Du hotspot.
Dating websites are blocked, although matrimonial sites appear to be okay. Given the evident recognition of western relationship culture the blocking of such sites appears at odds with all the picture of toleration the UAE is trying to show.
Betting sites – anything related to casinos and online gambling (including attempting to search in Google along with several other search engines with words like gaming, casino,). One of Dubai’s ironies is that hunting for advice (a Dubai government owned business) tieup with MGM (a US casino operator) is not easy as an effect of the censorship.
Networking websites – some are thought to be “dating” websites by the TRA and obstructed for this reason, for example – FaceBook (not blocked), Flickr (unblocked), Friendster (not blocked), Hi5 (not blocked), MySpace (not blocked), Orkut, StumbleUpon (not blocked).
Pornographic websites and pages. Including websites that are on-line for magazines like FHM, Maxim, etc even although the magazines are for sale in the UAE (with some parts of pictures blacked out) .