11 September, 2006

Bye-bye to ANOTHER internet site

It never stops, does it? The latest site to be blocked by the fundamentalist, ignorant peasants currently controlling what far better-educated UAE nationals and expats may access is TinyURL.com.

TinyURL is a site that converts lengthy web addresses to short, concise ones. For example, this link here:


Is a link to UAE Community blog. When you click it, it auto-converts BACK to:


Meaning that TinyURL is NOT a means of avoiding the proxy. It is a 100% legitimate website that does not in anyway offend the morals and culture of the UAE. Here is a screenshot of the site (click for the full image):

I put this call out not to expats (because yeah - we can all "go home if you don't like it") but to UAE national web users: your communications authorities are ruining your experience of the internet, they are turning your country into an international joke, and they are making you pay ludicrous amounts of money for the privilege (believe us expats when we tell you that you are getting utterly ripped off - we know what kind of prices people pay overseas, and what kind of service they get. Yours is almost indescribable by comparison).

You need to lobby them - to get senior sheikhs and officials onside - before it is too late, and the only website left open is Etisalat.ae. This is your country: your government should be serving you, not controlling you.


Eric said...

Wow! That is pretty surprising for this type of site to be blocked. How is it that you can post something such as this so openly as well?

secretdubai said...

Because I am, quite frankly, at the end of my tether, in the way I have seen the internet deteriorate and censorship increase during my five years here.

I don't believe this is desired by senior sheikhs, and I do believe that if they really had the time to sit down and take a look at what is happening, they would be just as outraged.

Let's not forget Sheikh Mohammed's commitment to openness and progress and freedom of expression. Tecom may be unblocked for now, but what about all the international businesses that are expected to set up in other zones, such as Business Bay? Are they really going to want to up-sticks to Dubai if its internet is worse than China's?

urbanite82 said...

well said sd, all of it! Emiratis should in deed be outraged at what is happening to their country...it is a slap in the face and a direct insult to the intelligence and common sense of everyone using the internet here...this eti-shiznit problem and the recent discouraging of student blogging is dangerous stuff...we will all be treading in dark waters here if something isn't done asap...

samuraisam said...

The blocking has not been instated by Etisalat according to secure computing's list.

Securecomputing has listed tinyurl as an anonymizing utility/translation utility; this seems to be a mistake on their part, but hey, they're doing website categorisation for Etisalat, they're bound to be morons.

Lirun said...

i remember when i studied in china.. no one could access hotmail..

i was lucky enough to be emailing through a dodgy-brothers email service called euroseek that disappeared shortly after i left shanghai and erased my account..

its funny how much you take for granted when you can access whatever you like..

my blog still cant be accessed in most parts of china.


fellow atheist said...

May I suggest a more pragmatic approach to blocked sites that do not appear to be inline with the current (insert adjective here) system of censorship in place?

I would rather if we are not emotional about this and simply email the concerned parties (Etisalat or RTA when their new rules come in place). I would also recommend that the email, date, etc. are logged in a post here and every communication that follows.

I am sure there are folks at Etisalat looking at this site. They are not going to respond to a sensational appeal. They will respond to publically stating action and reaction (or lack thereof) from their end.

Appealing to the local population is a moot point. They are too few and do not represent the spending power that would make a system change. Neither do they care to force such a change. The few that do are too young to be heard. Otherwise, why are we still moving at lightening speed into the dark ages?

samuraisam said...

"I would rather if we are not emotional about this and simply email the concerned parties"

Have you seen an email response from Etisalat yet?

Grumpy Goat said...

I've had several email responses from EggSalad. All but one of them consisted of identical robot-generated "we'll look into it" messages. The odd one out concerned censorship of Flickr, and consisted of a different robot-generated message that included "...nudity site..."

And that was the end of the matter.

DG said...

I agree with you Secret Dubai, something must be done to stop this excesive censorship.

I will give you an example, a few weeks ago I created a blog in Multiply, but now I cannot edit my account, because friends at etisalat think it is against the religious, cultural, political and moral values of the UAE.

I sent a request to them to unblock the site, all I received was an automatic computer generated response. since then, complete silence. And the link is still blocked.

bartman said...

"Appealing to the local population is a moot point. They are too few and do not represent the spending power that would make a system change."

This is perhaps the most hilariously absurd thing I've read in a long time, and living where we do, that's saying a lot.

fellow atheist said...

bartman, care to elaborate on that?

secretdubai said...

fellow atheist - drop me an email if you want a membership here, so you can comment unmoderated. Membership is open to people interesting in UAE blogging, even if they don't have blogs themselves (you'll have to sign up for a Blogger account, but that doesn't mean you actually have a to start a blog).

Prometheus said...

"I don't believe this is desired by senior sheikhs"

Would they be receptive to a signature campaign? Or does anybody have a smarter plan?

Prometheus doesn't quite comprehend the idea of using censorship to protect moral/cultural/ethical fabrics. He usually uses a good brand of softener.

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