The war of web censuring in China and UAE makes us appreciate the "free speech" of the USA. Kenneth Starr, spoke in Fort Worth on May 30th and described our history of free speech and press freedoms. He reminded us of the value of our "free" speech in America. If you send an email in China or the UAE, someone is likely to be watching!
I have personally experienced internet “subversion” by the Chinese government while traveling there and have “virtually” watched as they monitored company internet communications. We have documented the persecution of Tibetans and destruction of tibetan Temples by the Chinese on film, while China's leaders were in denial.
In Dubai, my company had it’s site “blocked”, possibly because we refused to pay a “bribe” or "consulting fee" to a sheik with government connections while we held an investment seminar there. We of course were suggesting that Dubai's investors might do well to put their money in the USA, and Dubai's leaders were in denial. They didn't want the "truth" to come out, especially on the internet. Shortly after, their economy tanked and still has not recovered. Leaders of the UAE have let self interest destroy "transparency", speech, internet and press freedoms.
China and the UAE are known by business leaders, to be two of the worst perpetrator nations of the world, when it comes to government monitoring, censoring and impacting internet and telecommunications. It is no wonder that Google has moved out of mainland China and that many businesses who thought Dubai was an “open” government, have closed their doors and moved back to the USA and Europe.
Internet Censorship Amok in China and Dubai
First Hand Report from Dubai: Christopher Davidson, of OPEN DEMOCRACY, published an article that said in part:
“The persisting censorship of the internet and telecommunications is at odds with the needs of the UAE's new economy.”
Why? “Because website usage and telephone calls are monitored. Moreover, the bulk of households and commercial buildings still have their internet access fed through proxy servers, which in turn are supervised by a telecommunications regulatory authority.”
This authority in Dubai has been abused and used for a myriad of reasons, well beyond the governments “official” published prohibitions of “block websites relating to terrorism, social-networking sites that may promote premarital relations, pornography, and services such as Skype that allow person-to-person telecommunications (thereby bypassing the UAE duopoly's exorbitant telephone tariffs).” Skype, wow, that is a danger to UAE!
However, a large number of other websites are periodically blocked. Sites that suggest doing business in other nations, or that report “unpopular news”, that in any manner is negative of the UAE are regularly blocked. Websites that contain information on Judaism or testimonies of former Muslims who have converted to Christianity are also often blocked. International news websites that contain critical stories relating to members of the ruling families are always censored. Personal blogs can also be blocked. Our company was blocked for seeking out investors in Dubai to look at investments in properties.