Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Are sites ever unblocked?

To: censor@qatar.net.qa


The following website has been blocked by the filter run by Internet Qatar:
I feel that this blocking is in error. As far as I am aware, this site
is devoted to discussing the merits of the Perl programming language,
and supporting users who live in the Taipei area.

I assume the site was blocked because your filtering software was
designed for use by the Chinese government, and a simple rule has been
enforced that blocks all Taipei sites.

Many thanks

Nigel Gourlay


mohamed said...

Good question! I'm keenly awaiting the response.

Nigel said...

I suspect the answer will be silence.

Paul has just told me that there's hardly anything on the site anyway, apart from an advert for YAPC Asia.

mohamed said...

It's the principle!

The worst thing about it is that BoingBoing.net is blocked. Of course, if you really need your fix you can just subscribe to the RSS feed. Of course, this only affects me at night since we bypass the proxy at work (sssshhhh....)

Nigel said...

If you feel this is an error then please email us at censor@qatar.net.qa or contact our Help Desk at 111.

A friend from the UK suspects it's a trap: "DUH? YOU ADMITTED VISITING A BANNED SITE!?!?".

I think the censor would be more truthful if the block message read:

It's a complicated system. We don't know how it works, but it seems to keep most of the filth away from the kids' PCs. So what if there's the occasional false-positive? We don't care. Write to us if you need to rant, but we only look at the mails once a month, and like we said, we don't know how to unblock sites. Signed Phil (VP of Paperclips and Web Filtering)

Nigel said...

Over one month later, I have heard nothing from the censor. As expected.

Nigel said...

Qatar Visitor has written about the recent blocking of QatarSucks.com, a ranty but pretty harmless site.

I've written to ictQatar asking for an interview with the person who regulates Internet providers. If such a person exists, I'll ask about censorship. It will be interesting to know whether blocking follows a procedure, or is based on someone's gut reaction to a site.

Donato said...

Hi Nigel,

I am Donato Sasso, I was transfer from Venezuela to Qatar for working in the Mesaieed Electrical Generation Plant. Reading some post here about PDF creation files, I was wondering if there is a place to buy a Sony Reader at Doha. Any help would be very appreciated. Regards, Donato.

Donato said...

I realized I use the wrong thread in my previous post (and in this, of course). Sorry for that. I am still sleepy for the long trip. ;-)

Ann said...

VPN service or web proxy can help to unblock any sites. Personally I use vpn account and it works fine.