18 June, 2008

livejournal blocked

So finally livejournal has been blocked (again) in the UAE (thanks to anon for tip)

A few weeks back I wrote a post on the website www.vimeo.com; I actually complained to Etisalat about the site and was told that they didn't care/it was against policy because it was categorized as 'dating' (which leads me to believe no matter what website it is, if some company in the US lists it as dating they dont care at all and don't seem like they even review the website themselves).

I suggested to securecomputing that the website was not dating and they have since recategorized it (which means vimeo is now unblocked in the UAE).

Unfortunately there are 3 websites (that I know of) which are commonly complained about for being blocked (www.last.fm, www.twitter.com and now www.livejournal.com); as you can see from this screenshot, securecomputing lists them all as social networking/dating, so if a website is social networking it is automatically considered a dating website too. This seems like quite a severe limitation. It is also quite unfortunate as all four of these websites have very little to do with dating (vimeo is a video website like youtube with a policy against adult material, last.fm is so people can share playlists of what music they're listening to, twitter.com is much like blogspot/blogger, and livejournal.com is like blogger too)



3 cheers for Etisalat.

94 comments:

Annoyed said...

For fuck's sake! someone needs to shoot securecomputing in the nuts. Where does one complain about things to get stuff unblocked? that "feedback" URL on their friggin' form is doing nothing.

Makes me wonder, if they block LiveJournal, how come they haven't blocked Blogger as well since it's also a blog/networking site? unless it's categorized as something else entirely.

Keefieboy said...

Well, I know 'dating' is supposed to be anti-Islamic, but why block these sites for the hundreds of thousands of non-Muslims? And actually, shouldn't it be up to the individual to decide whether to visit 'dating' sites or not?

I know, it's an old topic, but it really does irritate me.

Confused said...

How can a blogging platform/site be a dating site? problem with some of the so called "security" companies is that they lump blogging/social networking into with dating, which is completely wrong. social networking doesn't automatically mean it's a dating site too.

and why is Etisalat going by US standards when it comes to what's categorized as what, can't they do it themselves? Surely what's considered one thing in US, isn't entirely the same thing over here?

Al-Maawali said...

And I thought that we got it bad here in Oman.
Dude, you guys got it BAD!

What do you think you should do about it? Any ideas of solutions to this problem?

Anonymous said...

OH MY GOD! LIVEJOURNAL IS MY LIFE!! WHY THE F did they block it????? *SIGH*!!! >_< damn them I hate the m so much, it is stupid , PLAIN stupid. Locals still going to date even with blocking dating sites.

and please someone help us how to unblock those sites.

I wonder if there is any add-ons on firefox or something =(

Mars said...

which idiot lumps networking with dating?

Anonymous said...

blogger isn't a blog/networking site too?
and how if the site is networking site to be equal with dating?
I've been using livejournal.com from a very long time and I was learning about making sites with css codes, over than that I've not seeing anything related with dating.. that's crazy to just blocked the site like that.
what about the Arab forums?? believe me those forums must be called "dating sites" and if you know someone who would always get on these sites asked them what they are doing there? they well answer "we don't have anything to do just to log in there" where they well talk and send notes with each other, and still these sites are open, for livejournal we shared information's, news, there we do not bubble and waste the time there, there are just the curios people there since it is really hard to deal with livejournal system and if there anyone who would play and "date" as what you said, he/she will not be at livejournal after just some minutes because he would not be able to deal with this site and with css codes.

Anonymous said...

I came here via googling "Liverjournal blocked in UAE". Sad, but true.

So, I started off my day as usual. Log on to LJ, read my friends entries, reply to them, read some fanfiction, discuss sports and random subjects with my friends and then post an entry of my own, or back to fanficiton. Thing is, none of that happened today. I was greeted with the lovely tag informing me that LJ has been blocked.

I might have screamed.

I called 101 to inform them. I mean, it MUST have been a mistake. This is LJ, for God's sake. I get this guy who was nice enough to hear my complaints (I might have sounded like a 5 years old, but anyway), only for him to tell me: "Well, it must have 'something' on there, you know?" NO, I DON'T KNOW, ETISALAT. TELL ME.

He made it sound like I use LJ for pornography, or something similar. I explained that no, LJ has high security standards and strict rules about viewing entries you shouldn't be viewing. And what did I get in return? The same answer as above. I'm starting to think Etisalat workers are actually robots, really. I thanked the guy and told him that I could use a proxy to bypass their insanity, and he replied with a snicker. (Sad part? I don't know of any proxies I could use.)

The last time something similar happened (mind you, with the lovely 'Network Error of theirs) I called and was granted with a proxy, because I made the guy believe that that there is a mistake with marking this site as a 'Network Error'.

What really angers me is that I have a paid account on Livejournal. And what angers me more is the ridiculous amount of money I monthly pay for Etisalat, and what do I get in return? Right, limiting my access to my favourite sites.

I really thought this had something to do with "Adult Content", because that's the reason they give off to everyone who complains about a certain site, but— dating? Dating, you say. Wow. Do they realise that locals wouldn't really bother with using LJ for dating because it's just way too complicated for them? And this is coming from a local *grins*

Now that I know their real reason, I'm giving them a call again. I hate to mope around the phone, explaining to them why they shouldn't randomly block sites, because they really don't care. Nevertheless, I'll be annoying the shit out of them if it means I'll be getting LJ back.

I'm really sorry about the large, useless anonymous comment, but I just wanted to thank you (and vent a bit) for clearing their real motives over blocking the vile site that is LJ :) Kudos!

Anonymous said...

شو هذايله الاغبيه اونه مال مواعده هم لو يحوطون في موقع ما بيجوفون شو هل مخ الغبي اللى عندهم كل شي حظروا اتصلات ما بقى شي يعني الحين جات فاتحينه عادي و هل موقع حظروا شكلي بحول دو يمدحونها هع

Anonymous said...

شو هذايله الاغبيه اونه مال مواعده هم لو يحوطون في موقع ما بيجوفون شو هل مخ الغبي اللى عندهم كل شي حظروا اتصلات ما بقى شي يعني الحين جات فاتحينه عادي و هل موقع حظروا شكلي بحول دو يمدحونها هع

Anonymous said...

@anonymous:
دو مب أحسن من إتصالات. لا تنسى/تنسين إنهم عباره عن شراكه مع بعض، بس إتصالات هيه الراس العود.

Again, sorry for spamming the place, samuraisam; but— I just checked www.trustedsource.org and typed in livejournal.com, and I got the result of it being: a) Blogs/Wiki. b) Social Networking.

Have my blackmailing worked (well, it has been said that Etisalat has ~powers~ over that list), or do you think there was a mistake with how I did it? If so, then they're so getting multiply calls from me.

Anonymous1 said...

Yes Livejournal.com has high security standards and strict rules about viewing entries and about the members too. I've been working, learning and saving up my files as in links there but all of works got lost because it's been blocked. (how would I have my files now?) I read also many people compliment about the Blocking of LiveJournal and they are searching for proxy's to open it, why wouldn't Etisalat think properly, and why wouldn't Etisalat found the good part about it before block the whole site?, They should just block the bad pages (if there are bad one's) not to block all the site and to crash all of our hard works there. We saved our files there to not let our hard disks be fulls of files and such, it help us to have more available space. Other people would use proxy's and that will lead them to open many other sites and that is bad for both the individual and the society.

Aggravated LJ-er said...

I have a permanent account with LiveJournal. For years I've used that site to not only keep in touch with friends who've moved away from UAE, but also stay in touch with people in general. I also used LJ to help me through college as it has a lot of very helpful communities. And speaking of communities, LJ is where I got my writing inspiration from in the form of writing groups.

If Etisalat keeps this up, they should just ban the whole of the Internet, as it stands the number of things to do online when you're in UAE, is slowly dwindling as apparently anything that doesn't make money *for* UAE gets blocked.

Kyle said...

Any ideas of solutions to this problem?

Al-Maawali:

Sure!

It's called jailbreak.

Draw your own conclusion *wink*.

Anonymous said...

I actually don't believe how ignorant people can be. "Dating/Social networking?"
How should the word "Dating" even come close to the words "/social network" when it comes to the internet.
Excuse me, but dating sites are usually web addresses such as "www.dateme.com" or "www.singlesindubai.com" (i just made them up but I wouldn't be suprised if they were censored.)
I love LJ to bits, but if I wanted to go "looking for love" LJ would definatly not be the first place I looked.
And I'm sorry, I had no idea that "being social" was against the countries moral, and religeous codes. I do apologise. I know, why don't you block sites that promote breathing and blinking next, seeing as you're set on blocking sites that promote happiness.
Livejournal was a place to share thoughts and feelings. But no, we now have to hold everything in because emotions aren't condoned in a muslim country it seems!!

CG said...

hmmmm....what amazes me is that people still get shocked by this. What is everyones problem? If it sucks then it sucks, move on....

eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesh

Anonymous said...

@cg, I will see how you will be acting if blogger.com gets blocked by Etishit.

alexander... said...

It's annoying, and even more so because it's increasingly a policy that is cutting the fingers off the hands of the Internet communities in the Middle East. Short-sighted, stupid decisions. I've written loads on this already (some kindly highlighted on dis blog), have lambasted the policy in telecom conferences and am getting weary of trying to get them (Etisalat, Du and TRA) to listen to the simple fact that boy can actually meet girl with or without the Internet and that blocking social sites is plain wrong and damaging to the long term adoption and use of technology in the region.

But then they seem to barely understand the whole thing anyway...

Rina said...

So, isn't there a hope that it would be unblocked? ;_;

I remember two years ago when the communities were blocked and I thought it sucked but this is worse than before.

Confused said...

They want to prevent boys meeting girls, move one of the sexes to a different planet without any means of communication whatsoever, otherwise, GOOD LUCK!

Niss said...

@cg: Nobody is shocked, believe me. We're just frustrated by the stupidity of Etisalat. You'll be wailing around if your favourite blogging site, just like this one, was blocked for "dating" reasons.

secretdubai said...

I increasingly fear that Blogger will eventually get blocked too.

In the mean time I urge every internet user in the UAE to consider getting themselves a VPN.

For privacy reasons of course, not to bypass the br0xy, since that would be illegal ;)

Proud Emirati said...

instead of banning dating online, they should start banning it in the real life :P

Anonymous said...

How can we gat a vpn ? :(

Those fucking hypocrites!

Anonymous said...

get :|

Anonymous said...

We don't need proxies or VPNs! God, why do they make us look like we're doing something wrong? Fuck this, I'm raiding their HQs.

Anonymous said...

Thank god im on DU they have not blocked any of the sites on the list yet. If they do there will be hell to pay because im not gonna take this kinda bullshit.

shorty said...

My life is ruined.
I am an LJ addict I dont know wat Im gonna do
No LJ no Dailymotion?
Bloody cows!

Inspire Your Mind said...

Why impose personal values on others ? I just don't get it :(
Just mind your own business, your own home and leave us alone for God's sake !

Oooooh now we'll all 'behave' by banning this or that ! Please respect our maturity and state of mind and don't you ever tell me what to do with my life !

Yes I agree.. bloody cows !

Anonymous said...

Can I date the proxy? She sounds like a slut to me.

In other news, the UAE wisely confirms leaving its vital communication decisions to a private firm that is not even in the UAE.

Good job. It isn't only that you are unable to accept that communication should not be hampered, you are also delegating this task to an american company so far away.

I applaud the wisdom behind those decisions.

Kyle said...

Inspire Your Mind:

I don’t think anybody is imposing personal values on others here.

Right now, we’re talking about a journal being blocked. A journal where people pen their thoughts; be they personal, political satire or just plain trivia.

So, if you go ahead and execute a blanket ban instead of a selective block, people are going to express dissent with the decision. Now that dissent has nothing to do with what you’d call ‘imposing’ but rather some sort of venting frustration with ridiculous decisions.

Say, you’re in Canada - what if the Canadian Authorities just block all journals one fine morning? Will you just sit back and accept that decision or find another platform to vent?

That’s what people are doing here. Ok, maybe in some comments the language is a bit harsh and rough but what the heck, not everybody is civil and intelligent, as you!

Any way, I think it’s wrong – the blanket ban on Live Journal, I mean!

Kyle said...

By the way, I like your nickname: Inspire Your Mind. Very provoking, intellectually, per se!

CG said...

To anon@12.02 and Niss

No, I won't be wailing if blogger gets blocked, it is not my lifeline, plus nothing is blocked from my end, but I really don't care one way or the other.

Anonymous said...

my, my, i must say they're doing fantastically well at blocking the most innocuous of sites out there. no, but really, they're scaling new heights. flickr? okay fine. then last.fm? i can deal. now livejournal? fuck me. i hate this place. can we just revolt until they give in to the harassment or something?

Anonymous said...

Kyle...I think you read Inspire's comment incorrectly. She is not concurring with the ban.

AsoOmah said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Inspire Your Mind said...

Yes Kyle, you got me wrong here..
I meant the other way around..
Etisalat has no right to impose their directors values on us !

And BTW, I'm not a big fan of Canadians either.. mind me digressing here.. being discrimated against at work given my racial origin and my faith, I don't think a community without values either is the way to go..

Professionalism is what we need..be it in UAE or in Canada.. I would say to Etisalat just be professional and deliver your service without much interferance with people's choices in life..

That's all..

Kyle said...

Inspire Your Mind:

Thanks for your clarification.

I stand corrected.

I don't know what to say about discrimination. All I can say to you is that, you stand tall.

Best wishes :)

rosh said...

Yeah Doc, you stand tall. Nicely said :)

Inspire Your Mind said...

Merci Rosh..

Reg discrimination at work, I don't think we should discuss this in depth here in a comment section.. that's a whole topic on its own.. I can write book chapters about it if needed..

Yes I'm standing tall and I'll keep doing so ;)

Anonymous said...

This is absolutely despicable! I mean it seems that every single site I go to is blocked by those Nazis! Forget about lastfm and bittorrent sites but now LIVEJOURNAL! Come on. This is getting to be too childish and idiotic even for Etisalat. Now my only problem is how I'd be able to tell my LJ buddies that I won't be able to help in moderating certain journals. This is so unfai, its not funny anymore.

samuraisam said...

Please refrain from discussing alternative access methods (VPNs etc) or mentioning alternative links to access websites that are blocked.

samuraisam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
samuraisam said...

anonymous @ 19 June, 2008 05:52: There are different versions of the system, on 4.2 they were all still labeled as dating when I first read your message and checked.

samuraisam said...

oh yeah, dailymotion is unblocked (as of a few days ago, or thats at least when I noticed it)

Anonymous said...

what we can do cry in front of Etisalat HELL NO ..!!!

tenali raman said...

Now, now, people. It's all about morality and values. When it comes to that, who knows better vthan the Americans? That is why we have outsourced it to them.

Moreover, look at he technical aspect. If the the blocking of URLs was done within the UAE by a UAE company, instead of by an external organisation, then we would have a moral dilemma on our hands. After all, the people (employees or operators) of the firm doing the classifications would have to see the websites they are blocking, and their eyes could fall upon unsuitable material. Please understand that these individuals would also be either UAE nationals or people holding UAE residence visas. Hence we cannot allow them to see these websites, even if accessed from a work environment, in the course of work. What if they succumb and begin dating?

By the way, I was with my son on Al Baladiya Road in Al Ain yesterday, standing on a chair on the grass median, when an Etisalat pick-up pulled up. What are you doing up there? said the driver and his companion. Get down at once!

What business is this of yours? I asked. Since when is Etisalat involved in my personal leisure activities?

I assure you it is our business, said the Etisalat man. As long as you are contravening the moral and ethical standards of UAE culture, we will definitely intervene to stop you. If you do not get down yourself, I shall come and pull you down.

I had to think fast, as it was clear he meant business, and the chair I was standing on was quite a small folding chair, which could fall over easily.

Look, I said, pointing. This is clearly not your jurisdiction. Get away at once, or I shall report you to the TRA for anti-competitive behaviour.

He turned and looked at the Du transmission tower I was pointing to. Where is the Etisalat tower here, I asked. The nearest one is at Falaj Hazza. If anyone should stop me, it should be the Du people. You have no business to interfere.

He stood puzzled for a moment. What does he mean? he asked his companion. TRA...bad news...that's all I know, responded the other. We better get out. I think he's right.

And they sped away.

At once I grabbed the bag of dates I had collected and folded up the chair. Quick, I said to my son, looks like he's bought that. Let's get home before he wises up and comes back. The Du people are never here anyway.

With that, we lugged the chair and the bag of dates and rushed homeward.

Dad, my son said panting, when we got to the door, that was a close one. I'll never go dating with you again. The next time you want dates, go get them from the market...

Anonymous said...

I think this blog entry says it all. Our sanity is blocked as well:

http://kill-the-gun.blogspot.com

M said...

ARGHH.
I am so fucking sick of Etisalat. I can live with other sites being blocked, I can do it. But this is just stupid.

Etisalat are a bunch of morons.

I'm officially fed up with this place.

I have never used LJ for the purpose of finding a date-- It's a place where I can express my views and rant (about things such as etisalat).

ALSO, the fact that singlesindubai.com and muslims4mirriage.com and all kinds of other sites with similar purposes are advertised on every second website I go to.

Fuckin' hell.

Is there anything we can do about it?

samuraisam said...

One of my comments had incorrect information in it, so here it is again:
alexander: Part of the problem is that internet censorship isn't something people talk about on a day to day basis; I wrote about du's proxy about 20 days before any publication in the UAE (that I'm aware of).
IMHO, local publications are patently useless as doing anything about internet censorship unless it concerns facebook (OH GAWD NO, THEY CANT BLOCK THAT CAN THEY?)

Nagi said...

I am an avid LJ user. A few days ago, I logged on at around 5 AM (I am a freelancer who work late and have to work around timezones, hence the early time), reply to posts/threads etc. and everything was cool.

Not two hours later, when I had to recheck a thread once more and what do I get? The blocked-site-page.

Since then, I've spammed their complaint-inbox and have asked others who are LJ users within UAE to do the same. I know this is useless but what else can we do. Scrolling up this blog-thread, I noticed that anon @ 19 June, 2008 05:34 said that she/he contacted 101. I didn't think they'd even acknowledge it. I will now do the same and have other do that too.

The problem with this being blocked for me is that it's bad for business. I have a convention coming up and I want my art to be posted online so I can estimate print orders to be done. With Etisalat blocking that, well ... that's no longer possible now is it. That's the personal aspect of it. Being a graphic-designer, I have clients waiting for replies and ... yeah, see my dilemma?

Also, LJ has been - and still is - a great part of my life (call it silly) but it provides me with my cash, with my own personal shrink (face it, you do meet people who are just awesome) and also my source of fun (RP communities). But more so, IT PROVIDES ME WITH MY CASH.

Well Etisalat, thank you. You just yanked a good portion of my cashflow from under my feet.

And now it's categorized as Social Networking/Dating? Honest to god, which part of LJ falls under that? What about Facebook? Friendster? Hell, even DeviantArt? I can point out a million things in those sites that violates anything remotely close to 'Islamic' and those aren't blocked, are they?

And honestly, I do pay a good amount of money to this poor excuse of an ISP. I am not dishing out cash just so that I can visit blocked sites much like everyone else here.

So I'm not kidding when I say it's BAD. Because to me, it IS bad. Very bad for business.

I think if everyone complained to 101, it might bring the issue to their attention? Power in numbers right? I try to think positively, because honestly, the past two/three days have been hell.

Perhaps if the person who started this thread could provide securecomputing complaint-hotline-number, then perhaps every one of us could complain.

And honestly. Who needs LJ to date? Or to meet people of the opposite sex? Internet is not needed for this IMO.

I have successfully refrained from swearing in this post. Really. I think I've ranted/bitched enough the past few days.

What bums me some more was that in 2006, LJ was blocked too. Uh right. When deviantArt was blocked, a lot of people complained so bad that it was unblocked shortly after. I think ... a week? Two weeks at most?

Honestly? They might as well NOT provide the UAE with internet-services. What is the point? And oh, for the record? Why are countries like KSA and Egypt - and you know how miffy they get with Islamic-related things - have their internet wide open? Yes, wide, wide open! I'm not saying Etisalat shouldn't block - by all means, they can block all the porn they want - but let it be within reasonable boundaries.

Do they feel empowered enforcing these things on a highly MIXED community? I think not. People decide their morals. It would have been nifty if they were shouldering the sins of people. But oh they're not. So WTFH!

Another Anon. said...

@nagi: I called 101, true; but I was treated like a felon. Asking for a blocked site automatically makes you pervert because OF COURSE the site this local is seeking to be unblocked has to have adult content.

I called twice and felt bad on both times, because you get the feeling that they don't bother. You'll get the automatic answer of: Oh, send an email on feedback and we'll get back at you. I only called the Arabic section of 101, so I wouldn't know about the English speaking section, but I don't think it differs all that much because in the end, they're Etisalat.

Will they bother, though? No. How do I know? There was the case of DeviantArt. THE DeviantArt, where people of the UAE roamed in hundreds. THE DeviantArt went on to be blocked for about two weeks, and with lots of blackmailing and calls, they got it back. I fear LJ will be treated like flickr, and get blocked forever.

I really feel bad for what you'd have to go through because of Etisalat's stupid policy but believe me, even we locals have had enough of their trash.

samuraisam said...

Another Anon.: Trust me when I say Deviantart was not unblocked because of regular complaints; it's safe to say Etisalat does not care about customer complaints, if you don't believe me, call 101 and ask to speak to a manager, you will not get one.

Nagi said...

@ Anon 22 June, 2008 02:24

I am yet to reach Etisalat 101 (see? Even their hotlines aren't really working). I will do so today and try again to reach the English section. Hopefully I'll get something. Not that I'm expecting much, but positive thinking. Really ...

@ Samuraisam

You mentioned before that you reached securecomputing? In your first post? Well then maybe the same could be done with LJ? It is afterall NOT a dating-site. Reconsider? Or share the contact info.

samuraisam said...

anon: there is a form on their site that you can use to complain about sites; I complained about livejournal a few days ago but there was no result, I just tried again a few minutes ago... It usually takes at least a day or so

I've also tried complaining using Etisalat's form recently but it goes to a blank page with a header and doesn't send an email to your account as it usually does indicating that the service is broken (doesn't make much difference because contacting them doesn't achieve anything anyway)

Nagi said...

@ Samuraisam

Well, I've just checked the categorizing of LJ over at securecomputing. Dating has been omitted and it now falls under blogging/wiki/social-networking. Think this is good news? Because I also checked facebook (social networking) and blogger (blog/wiki).

Those are categorized under one category only. Yet LJ under two? I feel it should just fall under blog/wiki (blogging covers a lot of aspects, right?).

This confuses me. And still LJ is blocked. Probably take a day or two to update the servers maybe?

And yes, the complaint form at etisalat is useless. I was trying to spam their servers but the point is moot. I still can't reach their 101-hotline.

samuraisam said...

The Opennet initiative have picked up on this problem

samuraisam said...

nagi: As per version 4.2 of smartfilter, livejournal is still listed as dating/social networking; I believe later versions of the filtering system distinguish between dating and general social networking seperately.

frustrated said...

Why is http://www.dailystar.co.uk blocked? what's so against UAE's values on there?

Aggravated LJ-er said...

Who here would contribute to a campaign to get LJ unblocked? Write letters to 7Days and the RTA to get LJ unblocked. Call Etisalat, rise up a storm in public in the media newspapers and the like to get LJ unblocked.

I am sure if Facebook was blocked like that, people would stand up and do something about it; why not do the same for LJ? At the rate RTA is blocking websites for lame reasons, they will soon block all of the Internet aside the arabic matchmaking websites and maybe email and local news and it will no longer be an internet, but it will be a LOCAL NET!

the real nick said...

tenali raman @ 21 June, 2008 12:38

- ROFL !!! loved your piece about dating!

Nagi said...

Brilliant. I just checked version 4.2.

Facebook/Myspace/Friendster - all categorized under dating/social networking. And yet these sites are NOT blocked.

Now, I fail to understand how LivejOurnal falls under the same category as those three. Have you guys seen the amount of crap that goes on in that three sites? And it's still open why?

I'd honestly contribute anything to get the site unblocked. Because it's wholly unfair that LJ is closed down whereas those three sites remain open. I cannot see the logic.

Another Anon said...

@ nagi: Seriously, nagi, don't bother. My friend here has been calling them for days— so much they even recognise her voice now and directly send her to the E-mail Us Dear Costumer answer. I do like the idea of annoying them with calls, though... ONE of them, you'd think, would have the tendency to tell his manager about people annoying him about this LJ thing.

As for "why LJ only". Well, that truly shows that Etisalat doesn't give a damn about looking into this site they're about to block (blocking lives away with it), and simply blocks it. Since when did logic and Etisalat got together, anyway?


@ samuraisam: Oh, but I want to hope so, Samuraisam. And I saw the Opennet piece about it the other day. God, what would it take any of the newspapers to pick this subject up? I'm really starting to think Etisalat and Du ARE the untouchables, as sick as that sounds.


Many here are talking about doing something. The first thing I thought of was starting a petition (say, www.petitiononline.com?), but these things never worked, but! While looking around, I found a Facebook UAE petition. It has 844 signatures (and, frankly, I find it amusing how some are blaming "Dubai Government" over this. Doesn't they know the job of blocking sites has its own department now? Do they think a site won't be blocked JUST because locals love it, and "Dubai Government" cares about said locals? Highly, highly amusing. If so, then I'm offended, as a local.)

So, should we start our own petition? Just for the sake of doing something. I'm aware that it won't do us any good, but still.

samuraisam said...

another anon:
"And I saw the Opennet piece about it the other day. God, what would it take any of the newspapers to pick this subject up? I'm really starting to think Etisalat and Du ARE the untouchables, as sick as that sounds."
Keep in mind that the opennet article is dated after this blog post; no one really cares.
Add to that, a week or two back a representative of the TRA pretty much said he read this blog in a local newspaper, so if they really do read this blog then they don't care either.

As for 'managers' at Etisalat, don't even bother, no tech support people have management numbers (or so they claim), they only have internal extension numbers which they won't call for you. I'm in the middle of a very frustrating process of getting my internet upgraded; after putting the application in 4 times (yes four times) and having it disappear every time, I finally got an application in... That was 12 days ago, 'within 48 hours' has turned into about 20 days thanks to Etisalat.

Nagi said...

Petitioning won't really do anything but I guess it's better than nothing. I give Etisalat another week. A month tops. They blocked it before and unblocked it. I don't see why a repeat shouldn't happen. It sucks to hope, but what else to do.

After all, if push comes to pull, then I guess it is only fair to block myspace/facebook/friendster.

*sulks*

A! said...

You know, it is really easy to bypass Etisalat block..really easy. however, the whole LJ = dating thing annoys me so much that I am planing to declare war against Etisalat.
ARGH.
COME. ON.

What a company. they never pay attention to their customers complaints and yet we pay them!!! RAGE!!!

srsly, this is too much.

Nagi said...

@ Samuraisam

I feel your pain, really. The same thing happened when their optic fiber thingamajig crashed. We had no landline/internet/e-vision for exactly 12 days. It took them 12 days to get one of their people to fix the problem.

This is why I wonder why they bother to expand to other countries when they can't even provide their own nation with a proper service.

@ A!

What you said is true. But then again, I am not paying good cash just to be sneaky and go around the proxy. What else am I paying them for then? Charity? LOL.

I do agree though. It's just pathetic and gods, the outrage!

334 said...

I want to call 101 but as the other said they might not bother with that saying to send a feedback but didn't all of us send many of feedback's? but.... honestly that's too much!
if they want to block something they shouldn't block the whole site.
Didn't they learned before that in anything and everything there are positives and negatives???
people take my advice :P
crush you PC's, cut your Internets wires, throw everything over Etisalat, get back to your home and sleep well everyday LOL!!
seriously, that's too much to handle.
and as what nagi said that cuts my business there,,,..

N said...

What if we contact http://www.securecomputing.com/ to change the categorized of LJ? because no one there categorized LJ as dating site right?
and how about making a Petition for Etisalat too?
we should do something more than send feedback...

Nagi said...

@ N

Samuraisam and I have already filed the suggestion/complaint form at securecomputing.com (and probably a bunch more I'm sure), and yet nothing much has changed. LJ is still blocked. I'm up for signing the petition (doubt that'd help but it's better than nothing) and I know a few people who would too.

@334

I doubt the complaints reaches them because as Samuraisam said, the confirmation that the complaint has been filed doesn't reach your private inbox. Lord knows how much spamming I've done since the block and I got no response. Safe to say that the service is just for show and it's completely moot.

Bad for business is an understatement. I can't even scout for new clients anymore. Etisalat knows they monopolize the telcom service in UAE. They abuse that. Sadly.

Anonymous said...

Funny that http://www.dubai-friends.net/isn't blocked. They mean to say that LJ is worse than that?

Anonymous said...

So that's it? We just surrender?

Nagi said...

Not giving up per se. What else can we do? I keep calling 101, reminding them about the blocked site. And pointing out that their feedback page is not functioning.

If anyone knows anyone working in etisalat and can put a word forward directly, then by all means, go right ahead.

Anonymous said...

Like many people here, I went onto LJ, found out it was blocked, checked another few days, found it was still blocked, and so searched on google to ask why.

I don't know what's gotten into this country, really...I mean, not bothering to search the site for adult content is simply...eugh -_- and dating? So what if many teens/young adults use it and make friends there because of posting some of their works? They're in another country for goodness sake! You know, most LJ users are pretty decent here, Etisalat! And most don't even use that site for dating! Chill!

I really don't know what I'm going to do ;\

Anonymous said...

I don't think they would unblock LJ ever again.

I dunno if you guys know this already but I just discovered that they now have blocked Stumbleupon as well. It was working fine yesterday except for the Friends page. But now the whole site is blocked, just this morning.

Should I now start counting the days to when they will be blocking the whole internet?

Write to 7days! said...

Is no one writing letters to 7Days and The National and Gulf News to rise up hell over this? I'm sure people would write and do more if a certain other social networking site would've been blocked....

come on people! i have already written to them, but maybe they don't care; but they might if more than one person does it.

All of you guys who are LJ users, stand up and fight for your right to have access to LJ.

R said...

I'm getting tired coz all of this..
someone should go to Etisalat and talk to them face to face.. that's awkward..

Another Anon said...

Sign the petition! Help us unblock it!

Why yes, I went there and made it sound like a Green Peace issue. I honestly think it won't do us any good, but at least we have a place to vent it all out now?

Spread it around, to LJ users and even non-LJ users — you know there are many out there who would love to take the chance to poke at Etisalat, os simply help us out.

Hope this is fine with you, Samuraisam. It seems like the LJ cult is hanging around this place, so I thought it would be only normal (and the right thing to do) to post this petition here.

samuraisam said...

Unforuntately the petition won't do much. Even if Etisalat does unblock it, we're still stuck with the dating/social networking problem aren't we? A petition would be better directed towards the root cause of the problem: some company in the US.

Nagi said...

Then I believe it should be sent to securecomputing too. If it's possible that is.

Etisalat is bound to give in. I've forwarded this this to many people already. And while it won't do much it's better than doing nothing.

annoyed said...

Come on guys, think of what will happen if Facebook got blocked? I am sure the vast majority of you won't sit by idly twiddling their thumbs. At the rate Etisalat's going, it won't be long until that's true. LJ is even less of a dating site than Facebook, considering the fact that the data on FB is almost always true and real and people often get laid through Facebook, and not through LJ, on LJ, people are free to use fake names and aliases and don't have to provide real information if they don't wish to do so.

secretdubai said...

The problem with censorship is that it doesn't necessarily stretch as far - or just as far - as most people's view of "acceptable". This is why it is so problematic, and should not be done on government level but a family by family, individual by individual basis.

There are plenty of people who brayed with joy when my blog was blocked. Some of them will be just as happy that LJ was blocked. Some of them would probably be delighted if all of Blogger was blocked.

But I bet there are others - possibly even those who campaigned to block me - who are now unhappy with the LJ ban. So I hope that they now realise that once you bray for government "protection" over every little thing that wounds your own personal sense of prejudice or outrage, then you may get more than you bargained for.

Me, I hate all censorship. I think grossly illegal sites that harm innocent people - and by that I mean children, not some oversensitive adult's "hurt feelings" - should be rooted out and their publishers pursued at a national and international level. Those that visit them should be monitored, cautioned, charged if necessary.

But for anything else: strong religious views, strong anti-religious views, consenting adult content, gross-out humour, political dissent - these I believe should never be under any form of government censorship.

We all have a choice what we watch: we can always close a tab or a windows, hit the back button, add the site to our own personal blocking filter software. We can all set up filters for our children, and we should be monitoring what they do online.

But those that moan and bitch and whinge about various sites: those people that helped get LJ blocked whether in the UAE or outside, then it is about time you all grew up and stopped being so fking selfish. We have a right to see these sites; you should not have a right to prevent us.

Nagi said...

No doubt that if something like facebook got blocked, the entire of UAE would start one helluva riot. Alas, only 80 people have signed the petition.

I do agree that a petition (a different one) should be sent to securecomputing. It would be a terrible thing if it just remained blocked forever.

That aside, I've written to the Gulf News. I am yet to see results. I also think the 101 people hate me now. But besides complaining about LJ, I've pointed out to them that their complain section is "down" and that they should do something about it.

I didn't think it was funny. Really. But the guy on the other line laughed.

Another Anon said...

I know what you mean, Nagi. After my first few calls, I noticed that none of them was taking me seriously. I might be angry about this, and hiss at the mention of Etisalat these days, but I know my limits and try to be as polite as I can be — only to hear a snicker or two back.

I honestly don't know if that's a pattern with the Arabic section of 101, but it is highly insulting.

I'll add my voice to yours and write to Gulf News.

Can this securecomputing be e-mailed, or something?

A! said...

I'll write to Gulf news and securecomputing too , but I need their email .

Nagi said...

Not sure about securecomputing's email, but you can file a complaint form right here in their feedback page.

http://www.trustedsource.org/en/feedback/url

Type in the URL (and select version 4.2 from the pulldown menu). You should be able to see the results and file a suggestion.

Oh btw? @ Anon, I called the English section of 101. The moron at the other end was the one doing the laughing. >_>

334 said...

how shame, I have a dream about LJ being unblocked lolZ!
yesterday, I wanted to open a new blog for me and when I opened "greatestjournal.com" it was blocked too!!
should I register at Japanese blog? because it will be really hard to do that looool!!
I'm thinking... maybe I will change my net to du...

Pilgrim said...

Maybe they just don't want us blogging because it's apparently against Islamic values and morals. There's nothing in the Koran about anything like that.

Another Anon said...

IT OPENED. IT ACTUALLY OPENED AGAIN.

Ahhh, freedom. I'm not really sure if it was the countless e-mails (not) the writing to newspapers (not) or the petition (surely not) or the random "unblock" red button that an Etisalat employee randomly pushed (so is) — I am glad that we've got it back.

Get this, though: You can't friend others now.

*falls back laughing*

A! said...

YES! finally open~~ I don't have to use the anonymous proxies anymore lol.
however, it is PLAIN stupid to block the friending option LOL. XD!! really , Etisalat can be really funny.

At least LJ is BACK~~! ^___^

Nagi said...

Wow, it actually opened!

Although, it seems the friending option is not the only thing that doesn't work. If you click your f-list, that is blocked as well *amused*

Still, at least it's open now. Although it does seem rather callous of them to block the f-list page. And if you're a member of more than 15 communities, that makes browsing rather painful doncha' think?

Well, I get my business back, so heh. I am hoping still that they'll unblock everything completely (wishful thinking but oh wth).

Nagi said...

OMG I can't believe this! *laughing hysterically*

I checked securecomputing just now and as of now, SmartFilter 4.2 (XL-1) has cataegorized LJ as:

Blogs/Wiki

And that's it! Wow, I guess all those complaints did some good after all. It's so nice to know that at least someone was considering the mountainous complaints they keep getting.

Cheers!

*still laughing like an idiot*

Frustrated said...

so Livejournal.com seems to be unblocked now ut http://username.livejournal.com/friends is still blocked! Bollocks to Etisalat.

Anonymous said...

it is still annoying how they blocked the "friends" section and the freinding.. WTF. ANNOOOOOOOYINGGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!! I can't see my friends new posts damn it!

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