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How to disable your blocking software

Censorware Companies and Saudi Arabia Censorship

Security Crisis
Companies Compete to Provide Saudi Internet Veil By JENNIFER 8. LEE The New York Times -

  • Mostly American software companies are competing for a contract worth millions to help Saudi Arabia block access to Web sites the Saudi government deems inappropriate for 1/2 a million users, and want to sell similar contracts to other governments.
  • Other governments in Muslim nations, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates, have interest in the same Internet filtering companies.
  • Saudi Arabia, by royal decree, filters virtually all public Internet traffic to and from Saudi Arabia funneled through a single control center outside Riyadh since the Internet was introduced to the kingdom in 1997 and spent two years designing a centralized control system before gingerly opening the spigot to the Internet in February 1999.
  • Dr. Eyas S. al-Hajery, directs the Information Security Center at King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, the institution that serves as Saudi Arabia's Internet control valve, and decides what software to buy. Dr. Hajery says his staff of a dozen employees receives more than 500 suggestions a day from the public to block sites that the authorities have missed. The requests are reviewed by the staff and about half of them are ultimately added to the blacklist up to 7,000 URL's monthly. Many of the sites forbidden on religious grounds are gleaned through this process, since the staff members are primarily focused on ferreting out pornography sites, Dr. Hajery said. The center also receives more than 100 requests a day to remove specific sites from the blacklist many because they have been wrongfully characterized by the SmartFilter software, he said.
  • Sites Blocked - Pornography,
    SmartFilter came with ready-made categories like pornography and gambling and was customized to include specific sites the Anti-Islam orAnti-royal family,
    Political and Religious -- Saudi security agencies blacklist Banned sites are the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in the Arabian Peninsula was and the Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia. Also some sites that recount the history of Saudi Arabia.
  • Riyadh center blocks a site, user sees a warning screen in English and Arabic, "Access to the requested URL is not allowed!"
  • Saudi Arabia is one of the countries with the most centralized control of Internet content of various types, according to a report by the advocacy group Reporters Without Borders, Reporters Sans Frontieres
  • FIGHTING BACK Saudis dial up foreign Internet service providers, use Web sites that protect the user's identity or engage in a cat-and-mouse game with Web sites that frequently change their addresses to elude filters., users send e-mail to a fixed address and receive the new Web address.
  • Saudi Arabia is in contract with 10 companies from the United States, Britain, Germany and the Netherlands.
    Secure Computing, of San Jose, Calif.,
    Matthew Holt, oversees sales operations in the Middle East for that currently provides Internet-filtering software to the Saudi government under a contract that expires in 2003 and wants to renew that contract.
    Websense, San Diego which sells to half of the Fortune 500 companies, the United States Army and Saudi Aramco, the large Saudi oil company
    Surf Control, London
    N2H2, Seattle, Washington
    Symantec, a Cupertino, Calif.
  • Approximately 95% of american public schools have abdicated all decision-making to these companies. These companies are not blocking based on educational standards, they protect all information about their blocking process and their criteria as confidential trade secrets, whose mangament is not held publicly accountable, and who are clearly engaging in viewpoint discrimination. See CIPA Requirements


U.S. Sponsors Anti-Censorship Web Service August 26, 2003
The US government is paying electronic privacy company Anonymizer Inc. an undisclosed amount of money to establish and maintain an anonymizing web proxy service to allow Iranian citizens to circumvent the country's Internet censorship rules. The Iranian Anonymizer proxy will provide access to some of the 15,000 "immoral" websites that the Iranian government had blocked in May 2003. The sites include western news services, the Voice of America broadcast service and the site for Radio Farda, both of which are run by the US International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB). Pornographic websites will remain blocked for Iranian surfers. The proxy may result in an arms race between the Iranian government and the anonymizer service. Global Internet Freedom aimed at combating Internet censorship.

Top 20 #circumvention tools in #Iran since Jan 2015 @AminSabeti #Filternet #فیلترنت and Iranian Internet Infrastructure and Policy Report the Popular VPN Providers

2008 Internet Freedom Bill targeting China.

China, blocks foreign media and human rights web sites using domestic software.

The United States government establish a computer network to help Chinese residents circumvent their government's fire wall. Washington does NOT do this for Saudi Arabia and treats this Middle Eastern Muslim nation differently.

  • On the spot: Chinese unruffled by Google censorship Times Online
  • Google Now Censoring In China Search Engine Watch
  • Help the Chinese people out by submitting the Peacefire URL
    into the baidu search engine so they can find the software that disables the filter. Copy and paste this baidu search engine url into your browser.
  • CHINA, CUBA AND THE INTERNET COUNTERREVOLUTION A new Carnegie Endowment working paper finds that, contrary to conventional wisdom, the Internet does not necessarily spell the demise of authoritarian rule. {1}
  • Yahoo apparently born in Year of the Rat By JOHN PACZKOWSKI Sure, Yahoo signed China's "Public Pledge on Self-discipline for the Chinese Internet Industry," a voluntary agreement to monitor and restrict information deemed "harmful" by Beijing, but no one thought the company would follow it to the letter. Reporters Without Borders this week accused the Internet giant of helping Chinese state security officials catch and prosecute a journalist who "leaked state secrets,"Beijing's shorthand for criticizing the government. According to the media watchdog group, Yahoo willingly handed over information that enabled officials to link the IP address of the journalist's computer to a state secret he'd forwarded to foreign media via e-mail. In this case, the "state secret" was a message warning Chinese journalists of the dangers of social destabilization and risks resulting from the return of certain dissidents on the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. "We already knew that Yahoo collaborates enthusiastically with the Chinese regime in questions of censorship, and now we know it is a Chinese police informant as well," Reporters Without Borders said in a statement. "Yahoo obviously complied with requests from the Chinese authorities to furnish information regarding an IP address that linked Shi Tao to materials posted online, and the company will yet again simply state that they just conform to the laws of the countries in which they operate," the organization said. "But does the fact that this corporation operates under Chinese law free it from all ethical considerations? How far will it go to please Beijing? ... It is one thing to turn a blind eye to the Chinese government's abuses and it is quite another thing to collaborate." The accusations highlight the conundrum facing Internet companies battling it out for a piece of the lucrative Chinese marketplace. How does one do business in China without supporting a government known for its censorship of online information?
  • How China filters Google and is Keeping the information out Slashdot points to an interesting collaboration between Harvard Law School and the University of Toronto - exploring how China blocks parts of Google to keep the information out. The OpeNet Intiative's latest bulletin explores how the government first blocked the search engine, but now simply blocks access to the Google cache, and filters out content based on a list of keywords. The group does note that the filter technology is easy to defeat via the use of the ampersand symbol (&).
    The Chinese government has announced new regulations to increase monitoring and control over text and audio-visual material published on the Internet. The regulations, effective August 1, will require Web portals and other Internet publishers to follow the new rules or face unspecified punishments. Beijing's new regulations will limit the number and structure of Web publishers. Chinese newspapers reported that the rules apply to formal publishers on the Web of books, newspapers, periodicals, audio-visual products and edited works of literature, art, natural or social sciences and technical engineering. The new rules closely follow an announcement by a group of hackers that they plan on offering free software to bypass Internet censorship.
  • Yahoo's China Concession
    Monday, August 19, 2002; Page A12
    Yahoo has recently signed a voluntary pledge to purge its Chinese Web site of material that China's communist dictatorship might deem subversive. Yahoo promises to avoid "producing, posting or disseminating pernicious information that may jeopardize state security and disrupt social stability." It pledges to monitor information posted by users on its site and to "remove the harmful information promptly." It even undertakes to avoid offering links to sites whose content might not be "healthy." In sum, Yahoo is promising to become part of the regime's strategy: Allow the Internet to spread so that China reaps its commercial potential, but prevent it from nurturing free expression. Yahoo says that it is obliged to follow local law and that the voluntary pledge does not add much to what Chinese law requires anyway. It points out that the French suit targeted Yahoo's American Web site, which is different from China's policy of squeezing Chinese-based Internet operations. But both cases involve countries trying to enforce domestic law, and it's strange that Yahoo cooperates more eagerly with China's dictators than it does with a European democracy. If the firm actually does the things the pledge implies, it may become complicit in the oppression of Chinese whose crime is to have a political idea or to espouse an unpopular religion.
    A group of technology experts have produced two programs that will help people in highly restrictive countries bypass traditional web censorship systems. Both programs are the work of a group of hackers calling itself Hactivismo. The first program, called Camera Shy, was unveiled in New York this weekend. Camera Shy allows people to hide messages inside images. The second program, still in development, has potential for far wider effects. Named Six/Four, in honor of the date of the Tiananmen Square massacre, the software works like peer-to-peer systems that let users share material. Six/Four allows users to build a virtual network that should be invisible to the firewalls and filtering systems used by many regimes to block access to parts of the web they consider objectionable. Six/Four is due to be released in late 2003. The pro-democracy is a potentially valuable step to protect political dissidents and other people who have the quaint idea that their access to information shouldn't be thwarted by government-run firewalls in places like China and Saudi Arabia.
  • China Hijacks Google's Domain Name 9/10/02
    Chinese government is not allowing some Web surfers to access the popular search site.Try to access Google's search engine from inside China and there's a good chance you'll instead be sent to Tianwang Search, a search engine operated by China's prestigious Peking University. Internet users looking to reach Google from inside China are being rerouted to Tianwang, and several other sites like it, after Internet service providers in China hijacked the domain name for the Mountain View, California, Internet search company.

Ben Edelman Berkman Center for Internet & Society Harvard Law School

  • Coverage on 9/13/02 and elsewhere reflects that requests for Google in China are now met with pages other than the genuine Google site. With my ability to access the Chinese network, I have prepared a series of screenshots showing the other services that, in my testing, were provided in response to requests for Google. They're quite striking -- it's incredibly odd to see other pages below the Google heading in the Address Bar! Here
  • Sites Blocked by Internet Filtering Programs
  • Edelman Expert Report for Multnomah County Public Library et al., vs. United States of America, et al.
  • Contact Ben Edelman
  • Safesearch users unable to access "White House Free Live Webcam": Google's SafeSearch, a feature designed to shield children from porn sites, may be preventing children from viewing a number of harmless Web sites as well. This according to a new report from Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet & Society , which notes that SafeSearch blocks sites created by the White House, IBM, the American Library Association, and Nashville Public Library's teen health issues page.
  • Empirical Analysis of Internet Filtering in China
  • Localized Google search result exclusions Statement of issues and call for data BY Jonathan Zittrain and Benjamin Edelman
  • Ben Edelman Mon, 15 July 25 2002
    New Project: Internet Filtering in Saudi Arabia
    Professor Jonathan Zittrain and I have been studying Internet filtering in multiple countries worldwide ([1]), and we released today our first investigation in this series.
    In recent testing, we designed software to connect to the Internet through proxy servers in Saudi Arabia, and we subsequently attempted to access approximately 60,000 Web pages as a means of empirically determining the scope and pervasiveness of Internet filtering there. Saudi-installed filtering systems prevented access to certain requested Web pages; we tracked a total of 2,038 blocked pages. Such pages contained information about religion, health, education, reference, humor, and entertainment. Specific blocked sites include the Women in American History section of Encyclopedia Britannica Online (, the Rolling Stone Magazine (, Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance (, and the Women's Network, among hundreds of others.
    We conclude that the Saudi government maintains an active interest in filtering non-sexually explicit Web content for users within the Kingdom. We also find that substantial amounts of non-sexually explicit Web content is in fact effectively inaccessible to most Saudi Arabians. Finally, we note that much of this content consists of sites that are popular elsewhere in the world. Our full report, along with a listing of specific blocked web pages, is available at

    Ben Edelman
    Berkman Center for Internet & Society
    Harvard Law School
    References: [1] "Documentation of Internet Filtering Worldwide"

Jack Balkin, a professor at the Yale Law School who studies the politics of Internet filtering. Many of these university DNS servers are the same ones used for recursive queries by the university's client hosts. While this is the default for the widely deployed BIND nameserver, it is a poor security practice. My professional advice to the system administrators would be to run resolving DNS servers on different hosts than their authoritative nameservers, which would not only alleviate the symptoms described but also reduce the vulnerability of the authoritative nameservers from exposure to the systems authorised to use them as resolvers. (For example, DoS and cache poisoning attacks.) Furthermore, this may eliminate the requirement to connect the authoritative nameservers to the internal network at all, thus also reducing the risk of exposure to external attacks against the nameservers - as indeed resulted in security breaches at many sites some years ago.

Toby J. Arquette, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, New Technologies
Purdue University Department of Communication
1366 Beering Hall of Liberal Arts & Education 2166 West Lafayette, IN 47907
Office: (765) 494-3313
Feel free to contact me (), if you would like more information. Northwestern University and Purdue University have now completed a two year study for the National Science Foundation on global digital inequality using 60+ variables, various data sources, and research methodologies. Below is the abstract from the study. In addition, an executive summary and the full report (my dissertation) is available for download at
Social Discourse, Scientific Method, and the Digital Divide: Using the Information Intelligence Quotient (IIQ) to Generate a Multi-Layered Empirical Analysis of Digital Division [Toby James Arquette, (c) 2002]
This study empirically assesses social discourse, scientific method, and the digital divide between nations. The study reports the results of a meta-analysis of digital divide research conversations from a wide variety of sources. The study reports heterogeneity and multiple configurations of digital division between nations. First, as a case, digital division is contextualized in development communication, sociology, international studies, political science, economics, and science and technology studies. While digital divide research at the sub-national level identifies the diverse and multidimensional nature of this phenomenon, no such differentiation in discourse is made at the international level. The results support the proposition that research on international digital division is hampered by a lack of a unifying analytic tool for coordinatingdigital divide discourse.
This study proposes the Information Intelligence Quotient (IIQ) as a multi-layered instrument for coordinating the meaning digital divide conversations. Comparative empirical analysis identifies the implications of changing the language and methods when researching digital division. Synthesizing research conversations from over 60 sources, a content scheme of 18 discursive frameworks for inter-nation digital division (using 69 variables) is constructed to assess relative degrees of digital divide in terms of infrastructure (supply), access (capabilities), and use (demand). A sample of 172 nations is used to compare the digital divide outcomes (in terms of both GDP and UNDP Human Development) between the 18 discursive frameworks. Data analysis is triangulated using descriptive and inferential statistical analysis. The results support the IIQ as a framework for the differentiation of "the" digital divide into many types of "digital divides" between nations. The empirical analysis of digital divide conversations supports the need for a linguistic framework in conceptually and operationally defining the object of research, digital division. Absent such a framework, the internal and external validity of inter-nation digital divide research is open to a critique of the conceptual fit.
The study concludes with a conceptual digression regarding the importance of language when constructing definition frameworks for research, using digital division as a case for reflection on the intersection of social scientific and humanistic theories and methods.

UN: DIGITAL DIVIDE IN ARAB WORLD 'STAGGERING' A United Nations study released Monday says the divide between the Arab and advanced world is "staggering." According to the report, only one percent of the 280 million people in the Arab world use the Internet. Although improving infrastructure is critical, the study found that slow reforms in the Arab telecom sectors, poor access to information resources, limited personnel and economic difficulties all aggravate the digital divide.
According to Dr. Saneya Saleh, a sociology professor at American University in Cairo, another factor is reluctance of parents to introduce children to the Internet. Saleh says that many families do not want their children to have unsupervised access to the Internet. "There are certain things on the Internet we do not want young people to see. There are horrible things you can get on the Internet." The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) iscurrently working with Arab states to create strategies for upgrading their information technology systems.
[SOURCE: Voice of America News, AUTHOR: Greg LaMotte]

Economist Magazine States "Self-doomed to failure" An unsparing new report by Arab scholars explains why their region lags behind so much of the world


IP - Saudi Arabia -
netname: BATELCO
descr: Bahrain Telecommunication Company

10:00:19 Tue May 14th, 2002 (Server Time)
IP Address
Reverse DNS
From / Via Bondhelicoptersltd
Origin Location United Kingdom
Time Spent 11 min
Hits / Kilobytes 4 / 49.45Kb
Browser Tag Mozilla/3.01 (compatible;)
Referring URL
Date and Time URL
2002-05-14 09:46:38 /Technology/securitycrisiscensorship.html

inetnum: -
netname: ISU-5
descr: Internet Service Unit ISU
country: SA
admin-c: KR6046-RIPE
tech-c: KR6046-RIPE
mnt-lower: KACST-ISU-MNT
Part of this IP block has been used for proxy/cache service at the National level in Saudi Arabia. All Saudi Arabia web traffic will come from this IP block.

NOTE: If you experience high volume of traffic from IP in this block it is because your site is very popular/famous
of Saudi Arabia community.

changed: 19991005
changed: 19991212
changed: 20010707
source: RIPE

mnt-by: ISU-NOC
This Role object is for handling and maintaining all IP Blocks registered by SaudiNIC (LIR) in Saudi Arabia.

changed: 20010701

Saudi Arabia backbone and local registry address space

origin: AS8895


changed: 20000114 20011112
source: RIPE

Saudi Network Information Center, ISU
King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology,
P.O.Box 6086, Riyadh 11442, Saudi Arabia.
phone: +9661 481 3932
fax-no: +9661 481 3254

admin-c: ZOM1-RIPE
tech-c: RA705-RIPE
tech-c: ANAS1-RIPE
nic-hdl: KR6046-RIPE

IP RDNS: ntrasserver
NET: Ir-Irost-19991208
inetnum: -
netname: MODARES
descr: Tarbiat-Modares university,
descr: Graduate university
country: IR
admin-c: NM2105-RIPE
tech-c: ML10488-RIPE
mnt-by: IROST-MNT
changed: 20001017
changed: 20020313
source: RIPE

descr: IROST-Route
origin: AS12880
mnt-by: AS12880-MNT
changed: 19991230
source: RIPE

person: Nasrollah Moghadam
address: Tarbiat Modares University
address: Exp. Chamran
address: Tehran. Box_no:14155_4838
phone: +98 21 8005745
fax-no: +98 21 8006544
nic-hdl: NM2105-RIPE
changed: 20000622
source: RIPE

person: Maryam Larijani
address: Tarbiat Modares University
address: Exp. Chamran
address: Tehran
phone: +98 21 8005745
fax-no: +98 21 8006544
nic-hdl: ML10488-RIPE
changed: 20000622
source: RIPE

DNS records IN SOA server:
serial: 2002050103
refresh: 43200
retry: 7200
expire: 1209600
minimum ttl: 7200

.ir - Iran (Islamic Republic of)
IRANET, the networking unit of the Institute for Studies in Theoretical Physics and Mathematics (IPM), acts as the offical NIC of Iran.Services offered by NIC include Domain Name Registration under .ir, and Name Hosting.

Sponsoring Organization:
Institute for Studies in Theoretical Physics & Mathematics (IPM)
Shahid Bahonar Square
P.O. Box 19395-1795
Tehran 19589

Administrative Contact:
Siavash Shahshahani
Institute for Studies in Theoretical Physics & Mathematics (IPM)
Shahid Bahonar Square
P.O. Box 19395-1795
Tehran 19589
Voice: +98 21 229 1812
Fax: +98 21 229 8656

Technical Contact:
Akbar Behzadi
Institute for Studies in Theoretical Physics & Mathematics (IPM)
Shahid Bahonar Square
P.O. Box 19395-1795
Tehran 19589
Voice: +98 21 229 1812
Fax: +98 21 229 8656

URL for registration services:

Record last updated - 02-February-2002
Record created - 06-April-1994