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Fri 12 Jun 2009 11:35 AM

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High number of UAE websites 'inaccessible' - project

UAE Internet users report 509 different webpages were flagged as 'inaccessible'.

The UAE ranks high among countries that have reported the most 'inaccessible' websites, a recent report has revealed.

Internet users in the country reported the eleventh highest rate of inaccessible websites from among the countries in the world, according to the Herdict project.

Herdict is a project of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. It seeks to gain insight into what users around the world are experiencing in terms of web accessibility.

As on June 12, 11am UAE time, UAE users reported that 509 different webpages were flagged as “inaccessible”, the Herdict Web project statistics revealed.

China is the most reported country when it comes to website inaccessibility, according to the report. From among the Gulf countries, Saudi Arabia ranked at No.4. and Bahrain at No.6 in the top 10 slots.

A noteworthy aspect of the report is that websites in the Western countries also reported high 'inaccessibilty'. Germany was ranked at No.2, US at No.3, France at No.7, Australia at No.8 and the UK at No.9.

According to the website, Herdict is a portmanteau of 'herd' and 'verdict' and seeks to show the verdict of the users (the herd).

What is herdict?


Speaking to the UAE’s
The Nationalnewspaper, Jillian York, the social media manager for the project said that the websites that were found by UAE users to have been blocked ranged from pornography and dating websites to religious pages.

“But then, you also get some sites where you’ve got to wonder why they’re blocked – like Flickr.”

“When someone is reporting a site as ‘inaccessible’ that means they could be experiencing government censorship, or school or work, or it could just be a server error,” York added.

Some sites are blocked within an organisation, while with others access may vary depending on location, the Abu Dhabi-based daily noted.

Top 10 countries that reported the most-inaccessible sites within the past six months as on June 12, 11am, UAE time:

1. China   (4,969)

2. Germany (6,972)

3. United States (5,162)

4. Saudi Arabia (2,364)

5. Iran (990)

6. Bahrain (1,004)

7. France (1,530)

8. Australia (911)

9. United Kingdom (1,237)

10. Philippines (909)

The Herdict has also introduced an

Arabic language version

Muzamil Ashfaq 10 years ago

More websites must be blocked asap. Etisalat should be commended. Internet has become a major concern with most families.

Ralf 10 years ago

IF you look carefully that for countries like Germany it states that some users found they cannot access the website FOR WHATEVER reasons. That might be local problems, internet provider problems (and germany has hundreds of them), problems with the PC itself and so on. Sometimes even the website might be down or overloaded. It is not that the websites are censored/blocked in any way.

Farooq Iftikharuddin 10 years ago

First, Dubai and the UAE must block what goes on LIVE in the malls and beaches and streets and residential buildings then concentrate on websites otherwise this is hypocrisy and contradiction.

paul 10 years ago

All those people calling for more censorship really need to learn to control themselves. Your browser goes where you tell it, and your computer has an off switch. Those people screaming for more censorship are really just highlighting their failure as human beings to control their own urges. And the same goes for your family. If you educate your children properly and instill the right standards in them, then the web is not a problem. There are bad places on the internet just like there are bad places in many cities. The big neon flashing lights make it rather hard to walk into such places by accident. If you are worried about bad things on the internet then might I suggest you stop searching for it?

MindSmith 10 years ago

Finally!!! … for those folk who continuously 'whine ad naseum' about UAE proxy censorship; this story with US & German ratings helps put this subject into a realistic perspective. Countries ... all countries block access to websites deemed 'unsuitable or seditious;. At least in the UAE and Saudi - it is clearly visible, and there is a well defined appeals process (for those that want a site unblocked), ....whereas elsewhere in the world the blocks are 'hidden' i.e. no message from Etisalat or du - just a 404 not found message. For those in the UK; herewith a le@ked document from Cambridge University about blocking technology used within the UK, and the fact that even wikipedia entries are blocked – expect in UK all you get as the user is page not found message – how’s that for government transparency and honesty? …if you were in the UK you’d probably be saying – well censorship is what’s best for our kids. As someone once said: "Contrary to popular belief; you are NOT simply entitled to an opinion – rather; you are entitled to an ‘informed opinion’, get Informed about the subject at hand, and then make your ‘informed’ opinion".

KUWAIT GUY 10 years ago

My vote is for Kuwait as the best on blocking websites. Nesrly everything is blocked. I cannot buy my granddaughter a poster as this site is considered "Harram." However, the youth here know how to get around everything and anything.

Sherrie 10 years ago

The numbers provided by the site are based on individuals reporting blocked sites. Is this site also blocked by the UAE? If so, people there would not be able to report blocked sites as easily as those in the US where this site is not blocked.

Carmi 10 years ago

Isn't it amazing those countries that dictate democracy are those who place restrictions where none should be applied. Internet censorship is a powerful weapon when governments use this tool to withhold information that should be accesible to each and everyone of us for the good of mankind. Technology today is being used by the powerful and elite to manipulate and control almost 2/3 of the world's population without us even realizing it's being done. Remember information and knowledge is a very powerful tool and there are those who would prefer it remains in the hands of a very few.

Saad 10 years ago

This is realy a good step since the internet has no control nor rating to be classified . I wounder how those who calls to open the internet if they will let their children watch these movies or pictures. or use dating services.

Aziza 10 years ago

Saad, LIFE itself has no control or rating. In the end it is up to the individual to exercise discretion both in their life and on the internet. Yes there's every sort of bad thing on the net and there's every sort of bad thing in real life. As parents it is our responsibility to guide our children to make the right decisions.