Internet Filtering in Saudi Arabia in 2004

The OpenNet Initiative has just released a new study documenting Internet filtering in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. ONI researchers tested over 60,000 Web addresses during a three-year period and found that the most aggressive censorship focused on pornography (98% of sites tested blocked), drugs (86%), and gambling (93%). The study also explains how filtering occurs: the Saudi system uses a combination of commercial software from the United States (Secure Computing'SmartFilter) and input from expert local staff and Saudi citizens to control the availability of Web sites inside the Kindgom. For the first time, ONI's tests differentiate SmartFilter's blocking from blocking put in place specifically by Saudi Arabia's Internet Services Unit personnel. As the ONI's research reveals, even though the system is relatively transparent and evident to users, errors and over-blocking still occur. Click Here for the full report.