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Curbs not to impact social networking sites: du Filed on April 15, 2008

DUBAI -Telecom provider du has said that the curbs announced on its web content yesterday will not impact social networking or business websites in the UAE.

A du official said yesterday, “With immediate effect, all pornographic web sites will be blocked as per the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) requirements.”

Explaining as to why there was a delay in implementing the proxy, the official said, “Implementing and putting in place a process for content filtering requires long and careful planning and designing of systems, as we wanted a system that would be compatible with the future plans of the TRA as well. After the procurement and thorough testing of the equipment and systems, we implemented the content filtering process, when we had everything in place.”

Most affected by this decision are companies based in Dubai’s free zones and residents of freehold developments who have been using the du provided Internet without a proxy until now.

Earlier on April 11, Khaleej Times, while pointing out the same issue, had published a story titled “Internet users stumble across adult content” following complaints on the lax checks on the Internet content on the du web network.

The status of web sites such as Facebook and Skype (which is already banned in the UAE by TRA) will remain unaffected by the new curbs, said the official.

“du has blocked pornographic sites only, a move we are sure all parents will welcome. Content blocking guidelines are provided by the TRA and we abide by these,” he explained.

The TRA’s Internet Penetration Policy is expected to be announced by the end of the year. It hopes to clarify the status of Internet content in the country.

He also clarified that business will remain largely unaffected. “Normally business should not be affected because du has only blocked pornographic sites and sites that contain material that is offensive to the moral, cultural and social values of the UAE.

However, in the event of any site getting inadvertently blocked due to the nature of the filtering process, customers can either bring these to the attention of the TRA on the email id, and it will be unblocked if it is not offensive to the moral, cultural and social values of the UAE, he added.

Asma Ali Zain

Associated with KT for 15 years. Covers health issues, Pakistan community, human interest stories as well as general topics for daily news or features.

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