- Politics and Social Issues
American Technology Stifles Dissent in Middle East
It is so ironic that the regimes in the Middle East attempting to prevent dissent via the Internet are using American content filtering software. Software designed to prevent whatever the regime wants to censor from its public surfing the Internet.
McAfee and Blue Coat are the main companies that have sold their services to many Middle East countries, such as, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt, Syria. Without the American technology, none of the countries could prevent their freedom seeking populations from uploading video and photos of dissent and demonstrations to gain the support of the world. Even Iran uses filtering content software from the US and others. The software allows a country to block websites deemed subversive to a regime. China does this all the time. The software also makes it harder for subversives to find a "work around" the wall and circumvent.
For instance, the software allows Bahrain to block the website for Bahrain Center for Human rights (bahrainrights.org), the United Arab emirates blocks the Google site, Orkut.com, a social networking site. In Yemen, it blocks the, YemenPortal.net site, a news site about Yemen.
A Canadian firm, Netsweeper, just landed large deals for software deals in Yemen and Qatar, for their website blocking. Ditto for Websense Inc., in San Diego, even though they deny it has sold them such software.
As if this is so ironic, more so, is the fact that the US has spent $20 million to fund software and technologies that help people in the Middle East circumvent these same US content filtering software programs!!!