05 September, 2006

A Blocked Future

In case you are wondering what Etisalat, TRA and du are upto in the near future, here are some updates.

  • From this month onwards, Etisalad will lose the right to block sites directly. From now on Etisalad will have to send a recommendation to TRA and TRA will decide on whether to block the web site or not after an evaluation process.
    TRA does not appear to be a bunch of friendly folks - so not exactly exciting news.
  • du will have to undertake the same procedure when they start their service. All websites blocked by Etisalad previously will remain so. Which essentially means websites blocked by Etisalad will also be blocked by other service providers(if there are any in future).
    So those people who do not like Etisalat and is thinking of switching over to du, you know what to expect.
  • du is also a semi-government company in case you thought otherwise. The recent blocking of Skype and other VOiP services inside Media City was initiated by du after they officially took over the telecom service control from Media City.
    Et tu du?
  • Incase you want a website to be unblocked- you will not be able to contact TRA directly but will have to request the service provider (Etisala' or du) who will then forward the same to TRA for approval.
    Which further complicates the process and a sensible outcome less likely.

  • Etisalad actually has a separate department which monitors websites. The websites which gets most no:of hits are monitored selectively apart from a standard automated monitoring process - which means that the more popular 'undesirable' websites are more likely to be blocked than less popular ones with almost the same type of content.
    Google Video and the rest, here comes Big Daddy.
Bleak, indeed.

17 comments:

clayfuture said...

So this means, in the future even they allow foreign telecoms to enter the market, we will still get screwed anyways! That sucks!

MD said...

shucks..

secretdubai said...

Two things to note:

1. Most of the new blockings are coming at the instigation of Dubai Police, particularly the chief of police who is an absolute zealot when it comes to "youth" and "western-style pop videos"

2. The loopholes that we all find (such as www2.youtube.com) are - or were - being left open deliberately. However as soon as the police find them, they have to be closed. Just as the YouTube alternatives have been in the past couple of days.

Etishite, much as we may loathe them, don't want most of the censorship they're being forced to instal. The TRA does, because they're cretins run by a cretin, and the police do, because ditto. But we should possibly be retargeting at least some of our anger and loathing, because it's not all Etishite's fault.

Woke said...

SD,
As per the info that I have from TRA, they do not take initiatives nor have a process to initiate blocking of websites. All they do is approve or disapprove such recommendations.
But then many hardliners in TRA might be indirectly making Eti take such steps.

Didnt know the Dubai Police were involved in this. Wow, they actually look at websites :D

hmm... said...

But etishite is still etishite...

trailingspouse said...

Interesting, but depressing, information Woke. What is your source? Did you read this somewhere, or do you work within this industry? (not doubting what you say, just interested)

Woke said...

Thankfully I dont work for Etisalat or TRA. So you dont have to murder me. Just happened to know 'someone' in TRA/etisalat.

DG said...

Secret Dubai, I fully agree with Dhahi Khalfan when he attacks the satellite channels. Have you ever seen the channels he has started campaign against? We don't want soft porn beamed into our homes 24 hours a day. By the way, the sms messages scrolling on the screens of these channels are disgusting.

Kiwi Boy said...

Yes, dg, but nobody is twisting your arm and asking you to watch the soft porn. I'm sure whatever service you subscribe to must have some sort of locking or blocking program that lets you keep your children's and your own eyes from things that you find offensive. So just do that.
But why must sites like YouTube or Google Videos or various other websites be blocked?

Anonymous said...

In Dubai

Alcohol + Prostitution = OK

Internet sites = NOT OK

samuraisam said...

kiwiboy : Exactly; they're scared if people have access to porn they'll watch it.

DG: enjoy being told what to do for many years to come.

DG said...

Kiwiboy & Samuraisam, maybe in your countries it is okay to watch porn even in the presence of your parents. But not here. We are still a conservative society. If in your countries we are expected to respect your culture & traditions, then you must also do the same here. Don't criticize just because you don't have any other "fun" thing to do.

Sorry if anyone felt offended. By the way, I don't work for government, etisalat or Dubai police. And no one is paying me to defend them here. I respect your opinions and expect the same from you guys too.

Anonymous said...

i don't know why even some net to phone sites r blocked.

Anonymous said...

Actaully I agree with the comment posted above

"Alcohol + Prostitution = OK"

I have seen it myself, the business of prostitution, I mean you can ask any taxi driver and he will get you there.

Anyway I'm going to leave the country soon, lucky me.

Robert H said...

Hello,

You can unblock all websites, Skype, MSN, VoIP ... with a VPN (Virtual Private Network).

You can download Blacklogic VPN from the official editor's website : http://www.blacklogic.vpn.helpnote.net/
--
Here are some additional links who explain how to unblock all websites and internet messaging softwares in UAE and other countries :

- http://forum.skype.com/index.php?showtopic=140851

- http://unblockskype.blogspot.com


.




.

Anonymous said...

There is a very simple method I found on: http://dubaiinsider.bravehost.com/

It cost me 5 bucks to know how but atleast it is simple, without any installation required and it works! :)

I’m a happy camper now!!! :D

Greg said...

Having traveled to the UAE several times and to other countries where web blocking is an issue I can understand the frustrations. I use a vpn wherever I go both to unblock web sites and skype phones but also to help keep my privacy when in unsecure locations. To me it's just an essential tool on my laptop both in the UAE and in the USA when on the road.

http://www.unblockweb.biz

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