Egypt must ban internet porn orders legal chief

Nov 8, 2012
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Egyptian web users will find their XXX entertainment cut off, after the Prosecutor General ordered the government to ban all pornographic content on the internet on religious, moral, and patriotic grounds. Adbel Maguid Mahmoud ruled in favor of an initial ruling in the country three years ago, Almogaz reports, which had argued that the potential for restricting "freedom of expression and public rights" was justified by banning the "venemous and vile" content which disturbed "the fundamentals of religion, morality, and patriotism" of Egyptian citizens.

Unsurprisingly, the decision has been met with approval from social conservatives, concern from liberals and free-speech advocates, and confusion by internet experts. The latter are unclear on how the Egyptian authorities will actually clamp down on pornography, with censorship being notoriously difficult to enact with any degree of broad effectiveness.

One possibility, the EFF suggests, is maintaining a list of banned sites, much as is operated in Pakistan. There, government watchdogs periodically add sites in their thousands to a roster of "unsuitable" content, though pornography still proliferates as the censors attempt to corral it.

Alternatively, a full block could be put into place, filtering all internet traffic within Egypt. That, however, would be expensive, technically very demanding, and could well have a negative impact on overall connectivity speeds, leaving other use of the internet at a disadvantage.

As Egyptian web users have previously demonstrated, there'll always be ways to circumnavigate bans and limits; the government was forced to cut off the internet altogether in order to curtail protests and social unrest back in January 2011. VPNs and other private browsing tools are likely to become the order of the day.


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