The Middle East’s cutesy Internet censorship

The Open Net Initiative has a fascinating new report out about how Middle Eastern and North African dictatorships are using web-filtering technologies developed by American and Canadian companies to censor the Internet from their own citizens. At least nine countries are using technologies like Netsweeper, Websense, and SmartFilter — originally designed to allow companies and ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
556015_110330_qatar2.jpg
556015_110330_qatar2.jpg

The Open Net Initiative has a fascinating new report out about how Middle Eastern and North African dictatorships are using web-filtering technologies developed by American and Canadian companies to censor the Internet from their own citizens. At least nine countries are using technologies like Netsweeper, Websense, and SmartFilter -- originally designed to allow companies and schools to censor pornography and other objectionable material.

The paper also features some of the cringe-worthy landing pages that users in these countries get when they try to access objectionable material. This one's from Qatar's QTel internet service: 

The Open Net Initiative has a fascinating new report out about how Middle Eastern and North African dictatorships are using web-filtering technologies developed by American and Canadian companies to censor the Internet from their own citizens. At least nine countries are using technologies like Netsweeper, Websense, and SmartFilter — originally designed to allow companies and schools to censor pornography and other objectionable material.

The paper also features some of the cringe-worthy landing pages that users in these countries get when they try to access objectionable material. This one’s from Qatar’s QTel internet service: 

Here’s the UAE’s:

The whole paper is well worth checking out,  as is Jillian York’s blog post on its findings at Al Jazeera.

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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