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[liberationtech] Websites blocked in UAE with Netsweeper

ei8fdb at ei8fdb at
Mon Jul 2 07:41:12 PDT 2012


I've have a bit of experience with these types of horrible, pointless, 
stupid, badly designed "web filtering" proxies - not Netsweeper but an 
equally horrible product called SurfControl (incidentally backed by some 
US Christian "group").

Firstly: all net censorship is stupid and bad. Just in case anyone 
thinks I am in favour of it.

I've had a look through those three links and the URL they block don't 
seem to look unusual. They seem to block all social networks (use case: 
employess "waste" lots of "precious company" time and Internet access on 
these "stupid" sites), a wide variety of religious sites (use case: Holy 
schmoly!! We can't have employees posting to 
" from work. Someone could/will sue us!), 
and any site that users can "waste" time or possibly cause a company 
"harm". Also they usually block anything involving naked human parts.

To show how ridiclous (and out of date) these products are, they are 
blocking :

* - a hosting site that was turned off 3 years ago.
* - which doesn't exist for years.

Secondly, in my opinion it depends on where this filtering is being 
carried out:

a) if it is being carried out in a private company, then users have 
ZERO control over what they can/cannot see. This is fundamentally wrong, 
but good luck with trying to get companies to change that. In my 
experience with these products (in private companies), I had to argue 
for "open Internet access" for employees during their lunch times.

b) if it is being carried out at a national/open access level (at the 
ISP, university) level then this is completely unacceptable. This would 
argument would be a valid fight for online rights defenders.

Thirdly, a possible reason for the pastebin URLs being blocked by 
NetSweeper is the exact same as for the rest of the URLs - pastebin URLs 
can be "categorised" as "hacker tools", or used for "illicit 

Leaving aside the Anonymous "ZOMFG W3'V3 JU57 H4><0R3D N375W33P3R" 
(Sorry my hax0rspeek is rusty) wording, their argument is right - all 
censorship is wrong. Period.

I hope that helps.


On Sun, 1 Jul 2012 00:37:38 +0100, Amin Sabeti wrote:
> Kaspersky said the link is not secure and it's phishing URL!
> A
> On 29 June 2012 17:06, Pranesh Prakash  wrote:
>> Dear all,
>> @Isac_anon and @Juzzy0 who work as Anonymous discovered this while
>> snooping
>> around Netsweeper's products:
>> Main list of sites blocked in the UAE: [1]
>> Secondary list, with pattern blocking: [2]
>> Summary:
>> * There were ALOTT of pornographic, sexual related (even Sex ED!!)
>> * Dating sites and freaking MATRIMONIAL sites !! blocked!!
>> * Any article, website, Facebook group etc. that is critical of the
>> Government...
>> * Sites that help bypass censorship I.E Proxies, VPN providers etc.
>> * Support sites of religion's other than Islam ... eg:
>> [3] etc.
>> * The most shocking lots and lots of VOIP sites the reason is
>> explained below
>> Link to Anon statement: [4]
>> Cheers,
>> Pranesh
>> --
>> Pranesh Prakash  · Programme Manager · Centre for Internet and
>> Society
>> @pranesh_prakash · PGP ID 0x1D5C5F07 · [5]
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