According to a story published in the Gulf Times, a Dubai based firm is in the process of developing software that will make it easy to restrict access “to groups on Facebook deemed to go against the social, moral, cultural and religious values of the United Arab Emirates.” This reminds me of similar tools that are already in place at a number of companies around the country that block Facebook as a whole.
This new software appears to be a more selective filtering system. Rather than building a tool that blocks the entire site, the company will build tools that help filter groups and applications based on the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority Internet Access Management Guideline which will be introduced later this year to the country. The new application will help block offensive applications such as “Phone Sex For Girls in UAE” and the “Alcohol Appreciation Club.”
Facebook never strays far from controversy with groups including one I previously wrote about which had numerous photos of girls getting drunk. It’s clear that foreign countries that don’t support freedom of speech will face continuing challenges through social networking sites which are effective tools for spreading free speech.