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Mon 14 Aug 2000 04:00 AM

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Yahoo upsets France, now it's fallen foul in KSA too

Already in disputes with France over Nazi memorabilia auctions, Yahoo gets its "clubs" banned in Saudi Arabia.

Yahoo! Inc., which is already in legal wranglings with the French government over its auction site selling Nazi memorabelia, has had its "clubs" site blocked in Saudi Arabia.

An Associated Press report quoted Khalil Al Jadaan, an official with the King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology, saying that "matters had gone beyond what is acceptible."

The Clubs.Yahoo.com site had been under review by KACST for three months before making the decision.

"The clubs site was blocked because most of the material was against the country's religious, social and political values," Al Jadaan said in the AP report.

Hard to Filter

Clubs.Yahoo.com is an area of the Yahoo.com site that allows the public to create mini Web sites for themselves.

A significant number of the clubs are dedicated to the distribution of pornographic material, but since all Web addresses within the clubs area begin with "clubs.yahoo" it is more difficult to filter pornography from non-offensive material.

A blanket ban on the clubs site restricts access to totally non-offensive areas dedicated to topics like gardening and travel.

Residents in the UAE still have unrestricted access to the Clubs.Yahoo.com site although links within it to recognisable pornography sites are blocked.

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