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Top Blocked/Banned Websites in the UAE

Top Blocked or banned websites in the UAE

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), known for its opulence and modernity, has a side of the internet that many may find surprising. The country is among those that practice stringent internet censorship, with several websites being blocked or banned. In this article, we will delve into the world of blocked websites in the UAE, understanding the reasons behind these bans, their impact on users, and how individuals navigate this digital landscape.

In the age of global connectivity, the UAE stands out for its unique approach to regulating the internet. While it provides unrestricted access to a plethora of online content, it also blocks and bans numerous websites and services.

List of Websites Blocked/Banned in the UAE

  1. 4chan.org and 8chan (8ch.net): Both websites are blocked by du and Etisalat, likely due to their controversial content.
  2. Aljazeera.com: This website was blocked in June 2017 when trade and diplomatic ties were cut with Qatar. It seems to be available again as of 2019, indicating potential fluctuations in online accessibility.
  3. Arabianbusiness.com: Blocked temporarily for one month in July 2017 for publishing false news based on inaccurate information. Official UAE statements on Twitter clarified this issue.
  4. Archive.org: An archive of the internet, unblocked since 2009, is a valuable resource for accessing old versions of websites.
  5. Change.org: Blocked in January 2018, possibly due to a petition protesting the ban on Skype and other VoIP applications. Availability seems inconsistent.
  6. Couchsurfing.org: Blocked in January 2012 but unblocked later by Etisalat. It might depend on the area and ISP connection.
  7. Discord: Blocked in the UAE for voice communications, while text services might still work.
  8. Emiratesleaks.com: Assumed blocked, this website appears to highlight controversial issues in the UAE and may be critical of the government.
  9. Donotflyemirates.wordpress.com and donotflyemirates.org: Blogs critical of Emirates Airline, possibly blocked in 2014 or 2015.
  10. DubaiCamelJockeys.org: A website discussing the history of underage jockeys in camel racing in the UAE, possibly offline.
  11. Facebook: Was blocked in 2007 for a period but is likely accessible now.
  12. FaceTime: The status of FaceTime (whether blocked or unblocked) appears to have varied over time.
  13. Flickr: Initially blocked in 2005 but later became available on both Du and Etisalat connections.
  14. GretnaWeddings.com: Blocked for unknown reasons, unlike other wedding arrangement websites.
  15. ICFUAE.org.uk: The International Campaign for Freedom in the United Arab Emirates, which supports political activism and democratic reform, seems to be accessible.
  16. LocalNewsUAE.com: Blocked in November 2010, presumably due to criticism of the UAE.
  17. Mafiwasta.com: A website supporting laborers’ rights, blocked on and off, with unclear reasons.
  18. Middlesex University (UK): The website was once blocked in the late 1990s but is accessible now.
  19. MySpace: Blocked in 2006 for a period.
  20. Orkut: Frustrating for members but not blocked, unlike some other social media platforms.
  21. PaddleYourOwnKanoo.com: Banned in January 2018, likely due to articles critical of working conditions at Emirates Airlines.
  22. PPRuNe.org (Professional Pilots Rumour Network): Blocked or partly blocked in August 2018, possibly due to negative comments about working at Emirates Airlines.
  23. SecretDubai.blogspot.com: Blocked, unblocked, and blocked again, this blog was known for its critiques of Dubai.
  24. Single-in-Dubai.blogspot.com: Blocked for unknown reasons.
  25. Skype: Blocked at times for voice calls, but website availability varied.
  26. UAEHewar.net: Blocked in February 2010 for encouraging debate on various topics.
  27. UAEPrison.com: A critical website about UAE’s prison system, blocked internally.
  28. UAEUniversityWatch.net: A website critical of UAE universities, blocked in 2012.
  29. WhatsApp: Voice and video calls blocked, with occasional restrictions on text and image sending.
  30. Wikipedia Pages: Some Wikipedia pages, including those related to sensitive topics, are known to be blocked.

2. Why Are Websites Blocked/Banned in the UAE?

The UAE’s legal framework and societal norms play a significant role in the censorship of websites. Understanding why this censorship occurs is the first step in grasping the landscape.

2.1 Legal Framework

The UAE relies on a set of laws and regulations to justify its website bans. These include laws related to blasphemy, national security, and public order.

2.2 Reasons Behind Website Bans

Explore the various reasons, from political dissent to content that contradicts Islamic values, that lead to website bans in the UAE.

3. Notable Examples of Blocked Websites

To comprehend the extent of internet censorship, we’ll look at specific examples of websites and services that are inaccessible in the UAE.

3.1 Social Media Platforms

Discover why popular social media platforms like Facebook, Skype, and WhatsApp have been blocked or restricted.

3.2 News Websites

Explore the impact of censorship on news websites and the challenges faced by journalists and readers.

3.3 VoIP Services

Understand the prohibition of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services like Skype and Zoom.

4. The Impact on Users

The ban on certain websites and services has far-reaching consequences for both residents and visitors.

4.1 Limitations on Freedom of Expression

Learn how internet censorship limits freedom of expression and stifles dissenting voices.

4.2 Challenges for Expats and Tourists

Discover the challenges faced by expatriates and tourists who are accustomed to unrestricted internet access.

5. Circumventing Website Blocks

In a world of advanced technology, individuals seek ways to bypass internet censorship. However, this comes with its own set of risks and consequences.

5.1 VPNs and Their Legality

Explore the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) as a means to access blocked content and the legal implications.

5.2 Risks and Consequences

Delve into the risks associated with using VPNs or other methods to circumvent censorship.

6. The Cat-and-Mouse Game

Authorities in the UAE continually adapt to emerging technologies used for bypassing website blocks. Discover how this cat-and-mouse game unfolds.

7. Alternatives to Blocked Services

While some websites are blocked, the UAE offers local alternatives for various services. Explore these alternatives.

8. Tips for Safe Browsing

For those navigating the internet in the UAE, adhering to certain online behaviors is crucial for a safe and seamless experience.

9. Recent Developments

The landscape of internet censorship in the UAE is not static. Learn about recent changes and developments in the country’s approach to online content regulation.

10. Global Perspective

To put the UAE’s internet censorship in context, we’ll take a global perspective, examining internet censorship practices worldwide.

11. Conclusion

In conclusion, the UAE’s approach to internet censorship is complex and multifaceted. It reflects the delicate balance between modernity and traditional values in this thriving nation.

FAQ’s on Blocked Websites in the UAE

Are VPNs legal in the UAE?

VPNs are legal in the UAE but using them for illegal activities is not. Be cautious and use them responsibly.

Can I access banned websites as a tourist?

Tourists can access some blocked websites, but it’s essential to respect local laws and regulations.

What websites are blocked in the UAE?

The UAE enforces strict internet censorship, blocking or restricting access to websites that are deemed to violate their laws and cultural norms. The specific websites that are blocked can change over time, but generally, the following categories of websites are often subject to restrictions:

  1. Adult Content: Websites containing explicit adult material are consistently blocked.
  2. Gambling Sites: Online gambling websites are inaccessible to UAE residents.
  3. Dating Apps: Some dating apps and websites may be restricted.
  4. VoIP Services: Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services like Skype and WhatsApp calling are often blocked or restricted.
  5. Political Dissent: Websites critical of the UAE government or its policies may face censorship.
  6. Religious Critique: Websites that criticize or challenge religious beliefs or practices are blocked.
  7. Privacy Tools: VPN and proxy services that enable users to bypass censorship are also restricted.
  8. Online Gaming: Some online gaming websites and platforms may be inaccessible.
  9. Social Media: While major social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are generally accessible, content on these platforms may be monitored.

How does the UAE block websites?

The UAE uses a combination of DNS filtering and deep packet inspection to block websites.

What sites are not allowed in Dubai?

In Dubai, websites that are not allowed typically fall into categories such as adult content, gambling, dating apps, and those that promote political dissent or religious critique. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services like Skype and WhatsApp calling are also often restricted. However, the specific websites that are blocked can change over time as per the UAE’s censorship policies.

Why does UAE block websites?

  1. Cultural and Religious Norms: Websites that violate Islamic values or cultural norms are blocked to preserve the country’s cultural and religious identity.
  2. National Security: Websites that pose a threat to national security or promote terrorism are blocked to maintain public safety.
  3. Public Order: Websites that may disrupt public order or incite unrest are restricted.
  4. Social and Moral Values: Websites containing explicit adult content, gambling, or dating platforms that go against the country’s moral values are often blocked.
  5. Political Stability: Websites critical of the government or promoting political dissent may be restricted to ensure political stability.
  6. Control Over Information: The UAE authorities aim to control the flow of information, particularly on sensitive topics.
  7. How can I unblock blocked sites in UAE?

How can I unblock blocked sites in the UAE?

To unblock blocked websites in the UAE, you can use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). VPNs can help you bypass censorship by encrypting your internet connection and routing it through servers in other countries. However, it’s essential to choose a reliable and reputable VPN provider, as the use of VPNs for illegal activities is prohibited in the UAE, and there can be legal consequences. You can use top VPNs like Ryn VPN or SPL VPN to unblock websites and WhatsApp calling in the UAE.

Are there any exceptions to website bans?

Some exceptions exist, primarily for educational and research institutions.

Is the internet monitored in the UAE?

Yes, the internet is monitored in the UAE. The government employs various measures, including deep packet inspection, to monitor online activities. They aim to ensure that internet usage complies with local laws and regulations. Users are advised to be cautious about the content they access and share online, as there can be legal repercussions for activities that violate UAE laws.

How can I unblock blocked sites in the UAE?

To unblock blocked websites in the UAE, you can use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). VPNs can help you bypass censorship by encrypting your internet connection and routing it through servers in other countries. However, it’s essential to choose a reliable and reputable VPN provider, as the use of VPNs for illegal activities is prohibited in the UAE, and there can be legal consequences.

Can I voice dissenting opinions online in the UAE?

While expressing dissenting opinions is possible, it should be done with caution, considering the legal framework in place.

About author

Visal Vadayar is a passionate Digital marketing professional from Kochi, Kerala. Highly experienced SEO and content marketing professional with 6+ years of experience.
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