Saturday, March 22, 2008

Secret Dubai Re-Blocked

I wrote on St. Patrick's Day that Secret Dubai and Single in Dubai were unblocked, but I wasn't sure for how long. Samurai Sam accused me of being so Internet unaware that I didn't realize that there are 'free zones' in Dubai from which the entire Internet is readily available.

In fact, I am located in a part of Dubai that goes through the TRA censors.

In the case of Secret Dubai and Single in Dubai, both were unblocked for a (very) few days.

'Proof' that Secret Dubai was blocked on St. Patrick's Day was provided via a statement by TRA spokesman Mr. Rasheed Joumblatt to 7DAYS stating that she was blocked.

This 'proof' was as good as Mr. Rasheed's widely publicized statements that Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City, and the other Dubai Free Zones must all go through the TRA censorship machines, as per UAE law, when, as of current date, the Dubai free zones still have full, uncensored access to the Internet.

That they are fully censored was widely publicized in hopes that such statements in the local press would be enough, and actual censorship of the Dubai free zones could be avoided.

But I just tried again, and both Secret Dubai and Single in Dubai are now blocked from my Internet access point, as of 21 Mar, just as Mr. Rasheed Joumblatt promised they would be.

So thank you Mr. Rasheed, for making Samurai Sam's comments that Secret Dubai is blocked, once again quite correct. I feel certain that Samurai Sam must be grateful that you have corrected what appeared to be an error on his part. (Depending, of course, upon what one's definition of 'is' is.)


Blogger samuraisam said...

Uhh, didn't mean it in that way.

I'm sure you are aware that there are users who go through the proxy and users who don't; I wasn't referring to that fact, I was referring to a very small percentage of Etisalat users who were meant to be going through the proxy but weren't going through it-- if memory serves the IP's 'affected' began with 92.x.x.x or somesuch. Not sure if they still have no proxy, but they were supposed to have the proxy/censorship on those connections (I only heard of two cases of this). As far as I'm aware this problem/blessing in disguise wasn't reported in any UAE papers.

There are also cases when internet users do not use and instead use the transparent proxy on Etisalat; there have been cases when this has resulted in certain websites being unblocked when they should be blocked. I checked on my own browser if the site was unblocked but it wasn't on the transparent proxy. I've also never read about this in any UAE papers.

I also read differing statements from multiple users regarding the secretdubai block from people claiming to be using Etisalat connections (some were saying it was blocked and some were saying it was unblocked) so I put that link on my comment.

If you were experiencing both secretdubai and single-in-dubai being unblocked it is highly likely your IP was one of those affected.

9:28 pm  
Blogger Dubai@Random said...


Since I only found Secret Dubai and Single in Dubai unblocked for about three days, my guess is that they were unblocked for about three days.

If I somehow had a privileged IP access point, they wouldn't have suddenly been blocked again.

At one time, people attempting a direct connection to the Internet found they couldn't access anything, they were supposed to have their browsers set up by an Etisalat technician, who would set them to go through; then Etisalat switched to a new blocking technology that no longer required an Etisalat technician to set up users' browsers. Those with the old proxy, and those without found they had equal (limited) access.

The UAE buys a list of porn/political/etc. sites from a US nanny company, and the blocking machines always block all the sites on the list. the UAE must then manually add other sites not listed by the US nanny company, and sometimes this leaves a few days with these sites unblocked, which is what I think happened to Secret Dubai and Single in Dubai.


1:26 am  
Blogger secretdubai said...

It is quite bizarre isn't it, all this fuss, given how lame my site really is compared to millions of other blogs and political sites?

If this keeps the TRA and a few deluded locals happy then so be it. But it does show what a massive lie the supposed increased "media freedoms" are.

10:35 am  

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