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The Gaping Holes In the UAE's Net Firewall

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the dirty-dirty-holes dept.

Censorship 107

Barence writes "The United Arab Emirates has its own Chinese-style firewall to weed out pornography and other 'unsavory' content. But as PC Pro's correspondent has found out, the firewall has more than a few holes in it. ISP helplines routinely suggest proxy server software that circumvents the filters. Access to Flickr is blocked, in case citizens' eyes should fall upon a naked buttock, but The Pirate Bay, which 'offers a range of bottoms to suit every need, including midget and donkey bottoms for anybody having a really slow afternoon – remains blissfully undisturbed.' 'Ultimately, I'm quite glad the UAE's authorities block websites, and thrilled that they're so inept at it,' concludes PC Pro's writer. 'Just like everybody in Dubai, all they've done is made me a master of internet chicanery.'" Guess that depends how closely they're watching the evaders.

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107 comments

Legal maneuvers (4, Insightful)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#33498276)

I doubt the firewall is there to block access to porn. What they really want is enforcement (harsh).

Without the firewall, you might get away with the excuse that you happened upon the site by mistake, or via those corrupt western popup blockers.

If you go through the trouble of setting up a proxy or some other means of circumvention, then they could probably use that information to show your willful intent to kill kittens or something.

Having been to a few church weddings recently, it's apparent from the talk that marriage is just a way for religion to maintain control over something. And what better way than to control people than through the nookie supply? You get your nookie assigned to you through church or not at all. So it sort of stands to reason than religious groups are against prostitution or promiscuity or even just loose women... it pretty much cuts into their turf.

Re:Legal maneuvers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33498312)

Having been to a few church weddings recently, it's apparent from the talk that marriage is just a way for religion to maintain control over something. And what better way than to control people than through the nookie supply? You get your nookie assigned to you through church or not at all. So it sort of stands to reason than religious groups are against prostitution or promiscuity or even just loose women... it pretty much cuts into their turf.

...Off-topic much?

Re:Legal maneuvers (4, Funny)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 3 years ago | (#33498346)

Not really. Layers 8, 9, and 10 are the most difficult part of the OSI model to manage.

Re:Legal maneuvers (1)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505326)

Then again, a lot of us slashdotters have never heard about anything above 7 ;-)

Re:Legal maneuvers (2, Insightful)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#33498448)

Well, it was a bit tongue-in-cheek (rimjob! I mean rimshot! Thanks, Freud). But I'd like to think I could give you guys more credit for being able to draw the connection between pornographic filtering and religious law in a Sharia state, whilst also drawing parallels to similar efforts in our own great puritan country.

Re:Legal maneuvers (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#33498660)

Having been to a few church weddings recently, it's apparent from the talk that marriage is just a way for religion to maintain control over something. And what better way than to control people than through the nookie supply?

You don't have to go to church to get married, and no church has any power over you unless you're a member -- and even then, its power is extremely limited.

And as to "nookie supply", there are woman who like multiple partners, and men who want monogamy for themselves. In fact, few men want to contemplate the idea of someone else banging their woman.

Re:Legal maneuvers (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33499062)

If you think churches/religions don't control what the state considers marriage, you're not paying enough attention.

Re:Legal maneuvers (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 3 years ago | (#33506464)

In the US ? Or, for that matter, in any mostly Christian country ? No they don't.

And let's not forget that the islamic punishment (for the woman only of course) of "providing nookie" is slowly getting stoned to death by a jeering crowd. There's a bit of a moral difference between the 2 religions here. But muslims get passes on just about everything, from slavery (just about all black slaves were exterminated in the middle east, this is just peachy, but in the US ... they were emancipated, horror of horrors. Which of these 2 deserves countless repetitions of the immorality - right ... the US. Lesson - never emancipate slaves, if they get uppity, massacre them. Hell, even that is islamic "holy" law (technical term is sharia "the right path"), but of course it is racist to point out that slave massacres are a repeating part of muslim history, and that they are part of the religion, not of any particular muslim government (hell, the slaves even won once or twice)).

How can you possibly compare these 2 religions as if they're somehow equal ? It's like stating the differences between a modern democracy and the third reich, or china, or venezuela are trivial.

Re:Legal maneuvers (1)

DamienRBlack (1165691) | more than 3 years ago | (#33506544)

Are you ignoring the fact that in the bible dozens of infractions call for the offenders to be stoned to death? And there are communities of barbaric Cristians out there actually enforcing them sometimes. No religion has a monopoly on atrocities. And there are many manifestations of sharia law. Most Muslims believe in a more moderate version then you are blathering about.

Re:Legal maneuvers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33498668)

WTF are you talking about?

Re:Legal maneuvers (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33498684)

How is this insightful and not flame-bait?

Yes, clearly all churches actively seek out forms of control. It can't possibly be that they feel that there is something sacred in the act of sexual expression. Nope, there can't possibly be any form of sacred or spiritual connection-- or at least the belief in such-- within sex via a religion. Nosiree-bob. None of that-there spiritualism or sacredness here. Just a form of control. Religions like to control people. That's what they do. They have no other motive whatsoever. I know this because a religion once told me that something that I wanted to do was bad. I didn't let them tell me why because they just wanted to control me. No control for me sirrah!

Re:Legal maneuvers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33498902)

i agree with this, except unironically

Re:Legal maneuvers (3, Interesting)

infinite9 (319274) | more than 3 years ago | (#33498772)

Having been to a few church weddings recently, it's apparent from the talk that marriage is just a way for religion to maintain control over something. And what better way than to control people than through the nookie supply? You get your nookie assigned to you through church or not at all. So it sort of stands to reason than religious groups are against prostitution or promiscuity or even just loose women... it pretty much cuts into their turf.

As a christian I can tell you that this is just plain wrong. (And people think we're nuts. :-/ ) Spiritual aspects aside, promoting monogamy and marriage is meant entirely as a way to maintain the health of both the people involved and the society in general. It's no different that suggesting that people not kill each other if you want to have a mentally and physically healthy society. If people get married and only have sex with this one person, all sorts of problems that plague society and individual people simply go away.

Re:Legal maneuvers (3, Funny)

Chalex (71702) | more than 3 years ago | (#33498952)

If people get married and only have sex with this one person, all sorts of problems that plague society and individual people simply go away.

[citation needed]

Re:Legal maneuvers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33499170)

Well, it's not _all_ sorts, but the most obvious sort that springs to mind is STDs. And then there's all the drama over extramarital affairs, which would indeed go away. I'm not prepared to rule out other ways that could go away (e.g. society not based in thousands of years of being preached monogamous marriage-only sex), but given people's inherent selfish and possessive nature, I still think there'd be less drama if people did the whole monogamy bit.

Finally, and perhaps most significant in overall impact, it would dramatically reduce single-parent families, which are linked to crime, poverty, etc.

But ultimately, it's hard to say, since it never really works out that way.

Re:Legal maneuvers (1)

blackest_k (761565) | more than 3 years ago | (#33500916)

The waste of life which is a loveless marriage fully supported by the church, the huge numbers of women raped within marriage the many women brutally attacked and assaulted by the husband.

It's a great institution marriage but without it a lot of these problems go away.

Its such a positive influence on children when they get to witness their fathers beating their mothers, staying together for the sake of the children, do they really need the scars?

It's with you the whole of your life and interferes with the relationships you form.

thanks daddy

Re:Legal maneuvers (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 3 years ago | (#33502170)

Lol... how would the drama over extra-marital affairs work if marriage didn't exist?

Also, if there were groupings of adults more like clans than nuclear families one missing parent would be LESS of an issue. Seriously.

Re:Legal maneuvers (0, Troll)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 3 years ago | (#33506520)

First, this is a stupid example. The real advantage to society that marriage brings is the stability and peaceful people who have a large vested interest in that society continuing. That said, STD's are one relevant example. Let's suppose we have some 100% infected with AIDS society. Then Jesus comes along, and everyone is 100% monogamous. Infection rate of newborns is 25%. (this is simplified in that I assume generations are perfectly separated with no overlap, but it isn't that different with mixed generations, and it assumes everyone has the same amount of babies).

Gen 1 : 100% infection
Gen 2 : 100% - (75% * 75%) = 56%
Gen 3 : 28%
Gen 4 : 12%
Gen 5: 5%

If one, for example, assumes the average number of sexual partners is 2 (instead of 1, as a society pushing catholic marriage would exhibit), no society will ever recover from a 12% infection rate in AIDS (if the infection rate reaches 12%, nothing -short of monogamy- can stop it attaining 100%). The more partners, the lower this number.

Note that, obviously, this better resistance to STD's is a property that only catholic marriage would fully bring. Other denominations would have weaker resistance, and things like muslim marriage would make things worse than just fucking around randomly (ie. if you're not going to be lifelong monogamous, at least stick to 1 partner at a time. Otherwise, you're pretty much guaranteeing that a group of people will all get infected, and then spread around. And a minimum marriage age is also a good idea, because it increases the chances women will at least live until they see their first child. Forced marriage at 7 (like the 'prophet' did), combined with aids could literally exterminate a society). Although, one has to admit that Hindu or Sikh marriage would be about as resistant as catholic marriage (women gets burned alive if her man dies, if she doesn't kill herself within a week or so).

Re:Legal maneuvers (2, Insightful)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499254)

Hey, that's cool... I think religion serves a very important role in community and society, and be a cherished part of a person's cultural background and upbringing.

I went to a Catholic international school when I was young, and they had an option for kids who didn't want to take the Christian or Buddhist classes to take a class on "Values". It would be kind of neat to have that sort of thing for my kids today. But of course the only thing I actually remember from that class is a picture of two girls sharing an ice cream cone and both are licking it provocatively from both sides at the same time.

Anyway, just a humorous observation I made to my wife after attending a bunch of different church wedding services. She was raised an atheist under the Soviet school system, and after listening to so many assertions from the pastor that "only through God can a man and a woman find happiness", this was the one answer that she was satisfied with :P

And yeah, you could fault promiscuous and unfaithful women for creating the conflicts that plague society, and monogamy is one solution for keeping things in order. But it would also be neat if some of us could evolve to the point where people wouldn't get so jealous of others, or treat women like property or livestock (as can still be the case in parts of the world), and demystify sexuality so we can get on to more intellectual pursuits. But yeah, we're not there yet.

Re:Legal maneuvers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33499318)

Sophistry is what you are spouting, infinite9. Fuck you, infinite9. The only question here is this: "Are you a sheep the spouts this bullshit because you believe it, or do you know this is bullshit but are spouting it anyway?"

The post from rwa2 is on the money.

I bet you are the same type of person that wants to ban gay marriage because you know right from wrong and will act as the moral guide to the rest of us poor sinners. Please, understand my rage is a function of you imposing your religious law on others. Religious law should be looked upon with horror in our secular society and yet you blindly tout yours. Can you not see the parallels between your religious law and Muslim religious laws. How are the members of the Taliban facists but you, on the other hand, you are our enlightened, Christian moral compass?

The difference with Christians trying to impose their religious law on EVERYONE, even non-Christians, is the Christians in the USA know how bad this looks and therefore spin their religious law fascism as the more palatable "defense of marriage act". Better spin, better PR. But both groups are still fuck-wads who falsely claim moral superiority so that they can rule their fellow man.

FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU!

Is my response to you clear? When I start forcing my religious law on you, you can express this level of indignation towards me and unless you are being forbidden from eating hot-dog buns on Fridays, my religion isn't involved. Not the hot-dogs, the hot-dog buns.

Re:Legal maneuvers (1, Flamebait)

singingjim1 (1070652) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499418)

I'm glad you prefaced that comment with, "As a christian..." so I could just ignore the rest of it as brainwashed nonsense. OF COURSE marriage is just another way for religion to control our sex lives. In Arab countries the church IS the state and vice versa and they try to control every single aspect of people's lives - in public and in their own home. Fundamentalist Christians who would have their way would like to see the same thing here, only instead of in the name of Mohamed it would be in the name of "Jeay-zuzz!" This entire situation is solely created by superstition and the church's power lust. Just another example of why religion is the single biggest roadblock to the advancement of the human race. But it least it helps promote it's own opposition and hopefully that opposition will continue to get smarter and stronger and we can wipe out this plague that has had our species mentally shackled for 2000 years.

Re:Legal maneuvers (1, Insightful)

infinite9 (319274) | more than 3 years ago | (#33500824)

I'm glad you prefaced that comment with, "As a christian..." so I could just ignore the rest of it as brainwashed nonsense.

There's a problem with your thinking. A non-christian says that christians think this or that. Then a christian suggests that they're wrong. Then you say that my response is brainwashed nonsense. I'm a member of the group he was talking about. Doesn't it make sense to ask a member of the group what they think rather than jumping to conclusions?

I can tell you that you can't group christians together into a large group and say that they're all this way or that way. We have all of the problems that non-christians have. Some of us are smart, and some not so smart. Some have money and some are destitute. Some educated and some not. So you can't look at christians and conclude that they made the decision they made based on education or intelligence. It must be something else.

OF COURSE marriage is just another way for religion to control our sex lives.

Would it surprise you to know that i got married in the same government building where you pay speeding tickets? The bible gives some guidelines on how to behave. And the end result is that it's really just normal behavior that almost everyone else does, just within marriage. The church has no idea what we do, why, or how often. They don't ask and we don't volunteer the information. Not much control there.

In Arab countries the church IS the state and vice versa and they try to control every single aspect of people's lives - in public and in their own home. Fundamentalist Christians who would have their way would like to see the same thing here, only instead of in the name of Mohamed it would be in the name of "Jeay-zuzz!"

I can tell you that most christians *don't* want a theocracy, although most people here on slashdot seem to think otherwise. We also dislike islam as much as anyone else. There are certain things we'd like stopped, abortion for example, not because we're trying to force our religion on others, but because we look at it as no different from bumping off grandma for example when it gets too expensive to care for her. I'm willing to bet there are a lot of non-christians who are also against abortion. But we never hear about them in these discussions.

This entire situation is solely created by superstition and the church's power lust.

We have a set of beliefs. And these beliefs are supposed to be respected in civilized society. When was the last time someone called Islam or Buddhism a superstition?

As for power lust, I believe that the catholic church used to behave like an imperialist monarchy. But those days are long-gone. And no protestant church has ever behaved in that manner. So where's the power lust? It's certainly not here today. I'm free to leave my church whenever I like with no repercussions.

Just another example of why religion is the single biggest roadblock to the advancement of the human race.

Advancing to where? I would argue that we are indeed a roadblock on the advancement to destruction. Stay tuned... Watch what happens when the roadblock is removed.

But it least it helps promote it's own opposition and hopefully that opposition will continue to get smarter and stronger and we can wipe out this plague that has had our species mentally shackled for 2000 years.

Here's what's going to happen: We're all going to vanish. They'll lie and cook up some crazy reason why we're gone. Then things will get bad... really bad. You'll have one last chance over the course of 7 years if you manage live through it. If you refuse, you'll spend eternity regretting your actions.

I would encourage you to be open-minded about christianity. Why would so many people choose to become christians? Does it really make sense that they're all stupid? You've expressed some of the same misinformed attitudes that many express here on slashdot. Instead of being a sheep and repeating what the world tells you to, why not investigate it for yourself? Visit a few churches and ask to make an appointment with a pastor to talk about it. Give them an opportunity to explain it to you better than I could. If you're going to decide that it's not true, at least decide for yourself after doing your own research. Otherwise, you're just a sheep. I think you'll find that you stand to gain far more than you could ever lose.

Re:Legal maneuvers (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 3 years ago | (#33502232)

The premise was 'group a has been brainwashed by people to believe this...'

Then you come in 'hey! I'm from group a and thats not true.'

It does seem sort of silly. Not that I think you are put in a very fair position.

Re:Legal maneuvers (1)

infinite9 (319274) | more than 3 years ago | (#33502718)

The premise was 'group a has been brainwashed by people to believe this...'

Then you come in 'hey! I'm from group a and thats not true.'

It does seem sort of silly. Not that I think you are put in a very fair position.

It's more like this: Group A thinks bla. I say, "I'm from group A and we don't think bla." Someone else comes in and says, "You said you're from group A which means you're brainwashed."

I could argue that non-christians have been brainwashed by this society and the point would be just as valid.

Re:Legal maneuvers (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505644)

Non-Christians have a centralized leader? And meet on a rigid schedule for instruction? And so on...

Re:Legal maneuvers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33502564)

The vast majority of people don't BECOME Christians, they are simply brainwashed by their parents to believe the exact same thing their parents do ( I would know, having had Sunday School, and Private Lutheran K-12 schools that spoke the EVILS of EVOLUTION). Just like EVERY OTHER religion. Which are all a mixture of superstition and somewhat archaic moral codes.

Re:Legal maneuvers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33504342)

"The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable."

I gave up trying to argue people into following Jesus, because it doesn't work. Now I just ask them to read the Bible for themselves and get to know the REAL Jesus who was a homeless carpenter who was betrayed and murdered, instead of the piñata who rains down blessings on you if you hit him with your prayer stick just right. I also ask them to please forgive us, his followers, when we brandish his name about to satisfy our own greed for power, wealth, and influence.

No one chooses to become a Christian on their own - by the world's standards, it's complete insanity. And yet Jesus changes untold numbers of lives every day.

Re:Legal maneuvers (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499922)

And if they get married and stop having sex?

Re:Legal maneuvers (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#33503598)

Yes, well, the fact remains that the Bible actually encourages [esvonline.org] (verses 1-5, also pretty much the entire book of Song of Solomon) quite regular sex within marriage, so that kind of puts a damper on the whole "church wants to repress sex to control you" discussion, I think.

Re:Legal maneuvers (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33504266)

Then they have a definitively dysfunctional relationship, and if their church has a spine at all, some counselling or even church discipline is in order. The Bible's quite clear on this one (1 Corinthians 7:5).

Re:Legal maneuvers (2, Insightful)

Dorkmaster Flek (1013045) | more than 3 years ago | (#33501114)

If people get married and only have sex with this one person, all sorts of problems that plague society and individual people simply go away.

I hate to get sidetracked into a religious debate, but I was following you (and respectfully disagreeing) up until this line, at which point I promptly spat chocolate milk all over my monitor. Monogamy and marriage specifically may work for some, or even most, people. But it's not the only option available, and it doesn't work for everybody. If you honestly believe that we would solve all sorts of problems if we just got people to get married and be faithful, I think you're dreaming.

Re:Legal maneuvers (1)

Darth_brooks (180756) | more than 3 years ago | (#33501204)

If people get married and only have sex with this one person, all sorts of problems that plague society and individual people simply go away. ...and get replaced by an entirely different set of problems.

Oh, and we need to have a strict subset of rules on who the "one person" is. Can't be a member of the same gender, otherwise the magic problem solver starts working in reverse and makes things *worse* for *everyone.*

We'll just ignore idea of marriage between persons of a different race or religious background, since those problems are at least on the very glossy surface "solved" in our enlightened age.

Religion on its own is fine and dandy. It's the dictating of the who's and what's and how's that gets them into trouble.

Re:Legal maneuvers (1)

thewils (463314) | more than 3 years ago | (#33502878)

Religion on its own is fine and dandy.

The problem is that it is never on its own, is it? They're always telling the rest of us how they think we should bloody well behave, and claiming tax exempt status for doing it.

Re:Legal maneuvers (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33498990)

The marriage license was originally instated in order to prevent mixed-race marriages. Now it is a means of involving the state in your affairs, specifically maintaining ownership of progeny. The marriage license makes the relationship a three way one that includes the state. A license, by definition, is permission to do that which would otherwise be illegal.
Fact is, the family bible still stands as legal documentation of birth and marriage with no need for a third party state. Birth Certificates and Marriage Licenses are just binding contracts with the state. Your choice.

Re:Legal maneuvers (2, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499204)

Marriage licenses in certain states also require testing for various common STDs, and have done much to reduce the prevalence of syphillis in the US. It's not all racism; there are public health motivations too.

Hidden Blessings (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#33498292)

'Just like everybody in Dubai, all they've done is made me a master of internet chicanery.'

I'd be willing to bet there are very few misconfigured wireless networks in Dubai.

Re:Hidden Blessings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33499002)

Walking around downtown Dubai, there are plenty of WEP hotspots that your phone or netbook can break into with aircrack-ng in 15 minutes as you enjoy a coffee.

donkey porn? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33498314)

donkey sex is more of a mexican thing. Arabs prefers camels and goats! before anybody beheads me, it was joke. Only white trash/hillbilly arab equivalent fuck goats. And little boys.

HIT SQUAD INBOUND (5, Insightful)

y86 (111726) | more than 3 years ago | (#33498358)

Before posting something like this, this genius should make sure he is out of the country and is never going back. They'll kill him or send him to jail for "encouraging indecency" -- or maybe a stoning?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/04/dubai-kissing-couple-jail_n_524736.html [huffingtonpost.com]

These whack jobs in Dubai and other Tyrant controlled governments have SLAVE labor. Like they are going to respect "freedom of the press".

http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2006/11/dark_side_of_du.html [abcnews.com]

Re:HIT SQUAD INBOUND (-1, Flamebait)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#33498454)

The UAE is one of the most liberal Muslim countries. They would probably just imprison you for life rather than actually chopping your head off.

Re:HIT SQUAD INBOUND (3, Funny)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 3 years ago | (#33498742)

Yeah, seriously. The UAE is way more reasonable than those other wackjob Muslim countries.

(it's sarcasm, for those of you who can't tell by the content and context)

Re:HIT SQUAD INBOUND (5, Informative)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 3 years ago | (#33498960)

Mods need a dose of the clue-by-four... this is not flamebait, people in the UAE get jailed [telegraph.co.uk] for just kissing in public. You can also be thrown in prison [windycitymediagroup.com] for years for being gay and forced to take hormone injections. (Granted the Brits did that to Turing as recently as the 50s, so I guess that means the UAE is only a few decades behind the moral development of the West...)

Re:HIT SQUAD INBOUND (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33498724)

RACIST!!!11111
Tyranny is a part of their culture. You should use more cultural relativism paste on your scalp in order to be tolerant of tyrants and despots.

I noticed the same effect (4, Interesting)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#33498364)

Whenever people try to block something, they only succeed in making the users smarter, and those in charge look less competent. High-school filter proxy blocking Slashdot and Wikipedia? Install firefox, set it to autodetect proxy settings, and it picked up the unfiltered teacher proxy, not the student. When they changed it around so the student proxy was preferred, we figured out the IP and configured it directly. College filter blocking Facebook? Use the VMWare helpfully installed by the admins, boot up Firefox in Linux, and it uses a direct connection. Heck, I discovered that one by accident. I'm actually starting to suspect that the real purpose behind school filters is education, not censorship.

Re:I noticed the same effect (1)

pyrosine (1787666) | more than 3 years ago | (#33498546)

I couldnt run any unauthorized software so instead learned to use rasdial directly from shortcuts to connect to a VPN. Admittedly it took me a couple of years before I thought 'hey, I wonder how I can connect to a VPN from the command line' (and then a few weeks to find the rasdial command) but it is evidence that censorship will always produce innovation.

Re:I noticed the same effect (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#33498620)

Exactly, and I guarantee you that if you walk around a college campus and ask incoming Freshman their first experience with networking it will almost always be related to getting past a block of some site in high/middle school. Ordinarily, few high school students would use proxies, VPNs, etc. but when they can use it to play games or get on Facebook...

Re:I noticed the same effect (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#33498834)

I guarantee you that if you walk around a college campus and ask incoming Freshman their first experience with networking it will almost always be related to getting past a block of some site in high/middle school.

The Big State U can have 38,000 undergraduates.

Not all are headed for careers in the server rooms or Dilbert's cubicle.
 

Re:I noticed the same effect (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#33498864)

Not all of them, but I can guarantee you that all of them will be using some form of networking in the future, and experience there can't hurt them and will only help them, just like we aren't all going to be mechanics working in a car shop, but it sure helps to know how to do basic maintenance on a car so you don't get screwed at the service shop. Same thing with networking, if you know how to set up a network using the same principles you've used all your life playing games (setting up Xbox Live, setting up system link, getting free wi-fi from your neighbors, etc.) you aren't going to get screwed by Geek Squad.

Re:I noticed the same effect (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499316)

But they're not learning anything from them, because they never increase security once knowledge of the holes in their system becomes widespread, and they never turn the filters off when the holes become the norm and the filters become disused, either.

Re:I noticed the same effect (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#33499924)

Oh no. At my old high-school, at least, they were always clamping down. They actually managed to make outside proxies ineffective simply because they would block them within a day or so of someone using them. Sure, there may have been others out there, but it was better to try to find a way around the filter system in the first place, rather than try to bypass it by hiding the traffic. Although it did take them several months to get Halo off the computers. One of the upperclassmen somehow managed to get the game on the master ISO they used to reformat. So every time they wiped the drive in an attempt to remove it, they were actually reinstalling it.

Re:I noticed the same effect (1)

c++0xFF (1758032) | more than 3 years ago | (#33501004)

Although it did take them several months to get Halo off the computers. One of the upperclassmen somehow managed to get the game on the master ISO they used to reformat. So every time they wiped the drive in an attempt to remove it, they were actually reinstalling it.

Brilliant! Look in the yearbook under "Most likely to hack a government computer system" for the culprit.

Re:I noticed the same effect (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#33501288)

Surprisingly, I was voted "Most likely to give Bill Gates a run for his money". And nobody ever figured out who did the Halo hack. Probably why it took so long for them to catch it: nobody was bragging about it.

Re:I noticed the same effect (1)

c++0xFF (1758032) | more than 3 years ago | (#33500938)

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by an attempt at education? Somehow that just doesn't feel right.

Piratebay Untouched? (2, Insightful)

InfiniteWisdom (530090) | more than 3 years ago | (#33498374)

A somewhat amusing juxtaposition of a line from this story:

The Pirate Bay, which 'offers a range of bottoms to suit every need, including midget and donkey bottoms for anybody having a really slow afternoon – remains blissfully undisturbed.'

against the other just a couple of slots down on the front page article

"Torrent-tracking site The Pirate Bay is currently unavailable as reports come in of co-ordinated police raids against file sharers across Europe.

I really don't see the problem here (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 3 years ago | (#33498410)

So when I connect up my internet for the first time, I won't run into any naked people by accident. Good.

If I want to look at naked people, the ISP itself will give me what I need to see naked people. Also Good.

The UAE governmant is happy, horny teenagers are happy, concerned (protective) parents are happy. Where is the problem?

Re:I really don't see the problem here (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#33498670)

Because if a government wants to attack a pillar of liberty, everyone should be concerned.

Governments exist to protect people from force and fraud, when they step beyond that, they turn into tyrants.

Re:I really don't see the problem here (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#33498930)

Governments exist to protect people from force and fraud, when they step beyond that, they turn into tyrants.

Hasn't the UAE's government always been tyrannical? Depending on who you ask, possibly benevolent tyranny, but still.

A reason to detain and question (1)

captaindomon (870655) | more than 3 years ago | (#33498412)

By setting up a law that everyone is expected to disobey, what they have done is supplied an easy reason to detain and question anyone "of interest". It's a calculated move.

Re:A reason to detain and question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33498678)

This might seem reasonable, but having spent two years working in the UAE, directly countering the "Iron Towel" (as we called it), I assure you there is no such motivation. The issues with the IT (again, Iron Towel) are rooted in incompetence. They have the best Narus gear money can buy, but absolutely no idea how to properly implement it. We ran and entire VoIP bank of dozens of lines, completely unfettered Internet access, and a wireless MAN to distribute it all entirely without the knowledge of the idiots in the UAE gov or at Etisalat and ICC (who indeed shared their bldg). They did, however, find some of our high-gain antennae with a fancy WFR sniffer van they drove around the cities looking for rogue communications.

slashdot is a great way to alert the authorities.. (1)

beh (4759) | more than 3 years ago | (#33498420)

I mean, short of publishing it right on the front page of the UAE Times (or whatever newspapers, news media they may have), what bigger ways are there to let the authorities KNOW that there is a hole in their censorship software...

I wonder, how long pirate bay or similar sites may still be accessed from there; and how long it will be, before mentioning a filter-free proxy becomes a severe flogging-worthy offence in the country?

As great as it is letting the people know how to circumvent censorship, you should think of finding a way to 'spread the news' of those 'holes' in a way that bypasses the authorities in charge of said filters...

Re:slashdot is a great way to alert the authoritie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33498826)

Well, if the everyday rube can't access it, what's the point?

Also, it sounds like a known problem, what with the ISPs telling customers how to bypass it.

Re:slashdot is a great way to alert the authoritie (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33499414)

I am writing this from the UAE. I do feel that if the government here is not trying hard to block all except for VOIP which is a threat to their income. There are two big telecommunications companies that control all Internet access, and I found it very easy to access any site I wanted by using proxies but I faced more difficulties in trying to use Skype or other VOIP softwares so I really belive that it all comes down to money.

and by the way the population of the UAE is overwhelmingly expats. I have lived in Dubai for around five years. I have yet to live anywhere near a local person. I dont see them in any neighborhood that I lived in, I dont see them when I go shopping and I dont see them at my work in a large private company. they are less than 5% of the population and they live in certain areas and largely work in goverment jobs.

Heh (1)

MrTripps (1306469) | more than 3 years ago | (#33498422)

Heh. There are more then five posts with a "gaping hole" headline and no one has made the obvious reference. What is /. coming to?

Re:Heh (3, Insightful)

InfiniteWisdom (530090) | more than 3 years ago | (#33498446)

What is /. coming to?

Adulthood?

What sort of idiot (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#33498514)

bypasses such firewalls to watch videos?

Seriously it's not like they can't log traffic and throw you in prison never to be seen again as an example to the rest of the idiots.

If you live in such a country, then sure there are reasons (you can't go all your life without watching donkey porn for some reason, or there's a political statement to make, or whatever), but if you are there temporarily why would you take such a risk?
 

it is to be expected (4, Interesting)

Suchetha (609968) | more than 3 years ago | (#33498548)

10 years ago, i was flying from london to sri lanka via jordan airport.

I had a DJ magazine with me for a DJ friend in sri lanka, and lacking anything to read on the flight, i had it in my hand.

the guy at immigration saw the magazine in my bag and wanted to take a look. i knew what was going on, and i also knew that hte magazine didn't have anything they could even REMOTELY consider "lascivious" so i let him have it.

he leafed through a few pages and asked me (with great disappointment) "no mwah mwah mwah?" while kissing his hand.

i had a hard time NOT telling him that i was an IT geek, and we can get our "mwah mwah mwah" from the internet.

the point i am trying to make is that when you try to suppress a biological impulse, nay NECESSITY, people will find a way to get access to it.

they are trying to implement a pornwall in sri lanka as well. a year ago the government blocked ELEVEN sites. now they want to block a hundred. I know the guys in charge of the pornwall. I know their abilities. i know at least two of them are in a porn mailing list that has been in existence in one form or the other since 1998

i would REALLY doubt it was incompetence on the part of the people running the firewall. that is created to make the politicians and the religious extremists feel better.

if the IT guys wanted to take down a site, they would, but most of them really don't want to, and really don't care. as far as they are concerned, they are doing their jobs, but when it comes to things like this "their job" is the bare minimum they are forced to do.

Re:it is to be expected (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33499712)

You bastard. I'm a Sri Lankan porn blocker and the secret police are kicking down my +;@#'=-54 NO CARRIER

Re:it is to be expected (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33500224)

Thats fairly true.

I live in Kuwait, which has similar laws/firewalls. For the most part, the ISP's block porn sites because the government authorities asked them to, but do a bare-minimum job in setting up the firewall. I actually know a few people in the ISPs of kuwait that did the censoring. They basically don't implement any blocking of sites unless the government gives them a list of things to block and do a crappy job at it. I've known how to look for and use proxy servers ever since I was 14. It's really not that hard. I'm surprised the author of that article went out of his way and actually paid for a service.

Porn in the gulf region is basically like marijuana in the US. Its technically illegal, but no one really cares. The firewall is crappy because no one actually wants stuff blocked except for 70 year old politicians who probably don't know any better about the internet.

Re:it is to be expected (1)

ISurfTooMuch (1010305) | more than 3 years ago | (#33500438)

Coming from someone who had responsibility for a small corporate network in a former job, I have to agree. Yes, we had an Internet use policy. It was pretty broad, and I knew that people violated it every single day. But, you know what? I had my hands full making sure the computers and network didn't melt down on a daily basis, so, as long as no one was doing anything that made my job harder, I didn't care. Sure, I had to do an e-mail investigation once to determine if a staff member was doing something inappropriate, and I was asked by a supervisor if there was anything set up to monitor whether an employee was surfing FB excessively, and I responded appropriately to both requests, but, as I said, as long as employees weren't doing anything that could either harm our infrastructure or get the organization in legal trouble, I left them alone.

I suspect the same is true in this case. The government wants porn blocked, so the IT guys block some porn. But they aren't stupid. They know damn well that it's ineffective, but, as long as they don't feel pressure to do more, why should they? No one wants to go out of their way to be more of an asshole than is demanded by their superiors (well, almost no one), and that's why these holes are there. Now, where you do see more extensive blocking is with VoIP traffic, and that's because Etisilat sees it as a direct threat to its profits. Blocking VoIP, I'd wager, is a lot higher on their priority list.

Savoury and unsavoury (1)

jandersen (462034) | more than 3 years ago | (#33498556)

'unsavoury' content.

I have always been a bit confused about this - savoury bisciuts are the ones that are sort of dry and a bit salty, so the sweet ones are called unsavoury, am I right?

'Ultimately, I'm quite glad the UAE's authorities block websites, and thrilled that they're so inept at it,' concludes PC Pro's writer. 'Just like everybody in Dubai, all they've done is made me a master of internet chicanery.'

This sort of flippant attitude can come back to bite - when something is illegal, then it is illegal even if they don't enforce it very well, and if they one day decides to do it, then they will have a field day sweeping up fools like this one.

Try HTTPS first (1)

Loquis (56476) | more than 3 years ago | (#33498582)

HTTPS was unfiltered (not sure if its still true), any website that had a secure part could be easily got to.

Had friends who liked to gamble, they couldn't access the front page of their favourite gambling site, but could go the login page and access their accounts.

Interesting choice of words... (1)

BlueScreenOfTOM (939766) | more than 3 years ago | (#33498686)

"Gaping Holes in the UAE's Net Firewall"

I like how the title describes both the problem with the UAE's firewall as well as the content that is likely passing through due to the problem...

middle east censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33498700)

I find it odd that they even bother with filtering in the first place, as the vast majority of pepole living in the UAE are expatriates.

But one thing for sure is that they're getting stricter with firewalls in this middle east where censorship is practices. Oman for instance, through the TRA (telecom regulatory authority) announced a draft law that would forbid individuals from using VPN software, mostly used to circumvent state censorship. You'll be fined $1200 if you're caught doing.

It's impossible now in Oman to use PPTP, L2TP or IPSEC VPN connections. The only one that really works is OpenVPN, and only if you use a TLS-AUTH key.

Flintstones (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33498770)

Apparently, regionally, Dubai blocks all mention of The Flintstones because people there don't like it, but the people in Abu Dhabi do.

Simple explanation: middle-eastern hypocrisy (1, Interesting)

bradley13 (1118935) | more than 3 years ago | (#33498918)

Don't underestimate the degree of blatant hypocrisy in play here. Drinking and extramarital sex are absolutely forbidden in middle-eastern culture, which just makes them all the more attractive. Repress something, and all you do is drive it underground. Since the middle-east tries to repress everything, well...

Take Bahrain as an example. While Bahrain is pleasant enough, they are connected by a bridge to Saudia Arabia. When the weekend (Thursday) rolls around, the bridge is jammed with Saudi Arabians coming to to party [wsj.com] - getting smashed and getting laid - which they can't get away with at home.

Of course there are holes in the firewall - how else can the upper classes get their porn?

Re:Simple explanation: middle-eastern hypocrisy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33500604)

Who's the fuckwit mod who is modding all such posts on this page 'Flamebait'? Looks like there's some lurking Arab with MOD points here. There was absoolutely NOTHING wrong with what the parent poster said. It's one of the most accurate and insightful comments I've read in a while. MOD PARENT UP.

(I can't believe no one has made this joke yet) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33499584)

Guys, using an Amiga as your firewall might seem to give you some "good"(?) security-through-obscurity advantages, but if you're running it on UAE [wikipedia.org] then it's all going through your host's TCP/IP stack anyway before it ever hits the emulator, so any vulnerabilities are additive. You might as well just stick with iptables alone.

I'm more concerned about the gaping hole... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33500154)

...in your MOM!

Hey shuddup already! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33500558)

Come-on, shuddup already, I live in UAE dammit. The last thing I want is for Etisalat to clue in...

So What! (1)

Mubarmij (176563) | more than 3 years ago | (#33501240)

So what if UAE is trying to protect its youngsters from easily seeing smut content! I know some guys in the agency that controls web access in the UAE. They know about pirate pay, emule and all the other ways a moderately savvy adult can use to access "unsavory" content. Their logic is that "as long as it is not easy for kids to access that kind of content, we are doing our jobs". I am extremely OK with this. Stop trying to impose your moral code on the rest of the world. The mature thing to do is to try to see thing from their perspective, not yours.

Re:So What! (1)

ISurfTooMuch (1010305) | more than 3 years ago | (#33501536)

From personal experience trying to help a friend who lives in Dubai, I think that more effort goes into blocking VoIP, and that's because Etisilat and du know that they couldn't charge the rates they do for international calling if people had VoIP as an alternative. We can argue all day about the morality of blocking porn and that maybe a better solution is to allow parents to police content by offering them filtering software that they can choose to install, but, with VoIP, it's all about the money. The UAE has a modern telecom infrastructure with lots of expats who want to call home, and Etisilat and du can make boatloads of money if they offered reasonable rates. Instead, they play this game, which forces people to spend money on VPN's so they can call out. And I'll bet that many do it just to stick it to the telecoms that make their lives so hard.

Re:So What! (1)

Mubarmij (176563) | more than 3 years ago | (#33501660)

Keep in mind that both Etisalat and Du give a large part of their profit to the Federal Government (who is a majority owner of both), so authorities have an interest in disallowing access to tools that may reduce their profit from phone companies. I am not saying that this is right or wrong. It is just a way to raise cash for the Federal Government which does not have many sources of income (oil income goes to the Emirates that own the oil fields, not to the Federal Government)

Re:So What! (1)

ISurfTooMuch (1010305) | more than 3 years ago | (#33503812)

I had wondered about the ownership of these companies. I pretty much suspected that Etisalat was either state-owned or at least owned by people closely connected to the state, but I wasn't sure about Du. They seem to be a bit more progressive than Etisalat, so I had wondered if they were under different ownership. Not so much, I suppose.

Just my opinion, but I think that, at some point, telecom will need to be liberalized or economic development is going to stall. People in Europe, Asia, and North America can make international calls for next to nothing now, and I think that this cheap calling has come to be expected, and if the UAE wants to more closely integrate into that trade arena, the cost of calling and getting Internet access has got to come down. I can certainly understand the current structure if the federal government gets much of its cash from telecom, but maybe that funding needs to change. Not that I can speak authoritatively on this, since the United States has some really terrible funding disparities, especially when you get down to the state and local level. Still, basing a federal budget on telecom seems like a bad idea, especially when having low phone and data rates seems to be a prerequisite for a modern economy.

Re:So What! (1)

Mubarmij (176563) | more than 3 years ago | (#33506664)

Just a slight correction; I did not say the telecoms were "the" source of Fed income, but "a" source. I believe they contribute around 6% of Fed budget. Not that big a chunk, although nothing to sneeze at. As to the rest of your statement, lets just say that I respect your view and that we agree to differ.

No need to block everyone (1)

yahyamf (751776) | more than 3 years ago | (#33502296)

The UAE authorities know very well that they cannot block everyone. Even with the "gaping holes" in their firewalls, I won't be surprised if they block more that 90% of the local population from accessing restricted sites. That's probably good enough for them. The effort required to block the remaining 10% would be too high and not worth it.
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