Internet censorship in Dubai-Bruce Schneier

November 16, 2008

[FACT comments: We find this recent update on Internet censorship in Dubai interesting. Even if one agrees that some censorship may be necessary for society, why can’t the Thai government be honest about it? FACT readers may be interested in reading some of the comments posted.]

Censorship in Dubai
Bruce Schneier
Schneier on Security: November 12, 2008

I was in Dubai last weekend for the World Economic Forum Summit on the Global Agenda. (I was on the “Future of the Internet” council; fellow council members Ethan Zuckerman and Jeff Jarvis have written about the event.)

As part of the United Arab Emirates, Dubai censors the Internet:

The government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) pervasively filters Web sites that contain pornography or relate to alcohol and drug use, gay and lesbian issues, or online dating or gambling. Web-based applications and religious and political sites are also filtered, though less extensively. Additionally, legal controls limit free expression and behavior, restricting political discourse and dissent online.

More detail here.

What was interesting to me about how reasonable the execution of the policy was. Unlike some countries — China for example — that simply block objectionable content, the UAE displays a screen indicating that the URL has been blocked and offers information about its appeals process

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