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KACST to block 200,000 new Internet sites
Jeddah 29th April 2001

  Saudi authorities are planning to bar access to 200,000 new Internet sites within the next two months mostly for moral reasons, according to sources in the IT market.

This would bring the total number of sites blocked to more than 400,000.

The Internet service introduced to Saudi Arabia in 1999 is closely monitored by King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology, which filters and blocks undesired sites.

KACST sources have said that over 95 percent of the blocked sites deal with pornography and the rest comprise political and social subjects that violate the country’s laws.

The city has regularly been blocking some 20,000 new sites on a monthly basis, but decided to accelerate the pace of the blocking after adopting a tougher policy, they said.

KACST is looking for a mechanism to get immediate information on all sites as soon as they open to screen them for immoral content.

Currently, there are more than 200,000 Internet subscribers in Saudi Arabia with close to 600,000 users. That makes the country the second largest in the Middle East in terms of users after the United Arab Emirates.

There are about two dozen private Internet service providers in the Kingdom, where experts are predicting the number of users to double before the end of 2001. 

Source: Arab News©

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29 April 2001 06:35:26 PM

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