Threats to the OpenNet: May 6, 2011

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Every week, the OpenNet Initiative provides a weekly news roundup (dubbed "Threats to the Open Net") in addition to our usual in-depth blog posts. If you would like to subscribe to the RSS feed for our newsreel, our entire blog, or our weekly roundup, you may do so; you are also free to republish the feed on your own site, with attribution to the OpenNet Initiative.

* The government of Bahrain temporarily censored one of its own websites last week. ONI partners confirmed that visitors to the website for the Jaffaria Waqf Directorate, which handles care for and endowments to Shiite mosques and institutions in the country and is affiliated with the Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs, were met with an official blockpage. According to ONI researchers in the region, "this blocking comes amid government crackdown on protests lead by mostly Shiite opposition groups. Shiite discussion forums believe the censorship is due to the fact that the site has information about Shiite mosques, which were allegedly destroyed by the government in the past few weeks."

* Rumors of talks between Facebook and Chinese search engine Baidu have drawn questions from US Senator Dick Durbin. Durbin wrote a letter to Baidu's founder this week expressing concern about the search engine's history of censorship "because of [the] company’s extensive business dealings in the United States."

* The Turkish Telecommunications Directorate has announced plans to ban websites whose domain names contain any of 138 offensive words. The list includes words like "girl," "gay," and "hot," and the ban could affect potential thousands of websites. Turkish activists are challenging the ban, claiming it has "no legal grounds."

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