Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Rationalization of the Syrian Firewall?

Sasa from Syria News Wire reports:

Blogging unblocked in Syria
21 January 2009

One step forward, one step backwards. It looks like Blogger has been unblocked but WordPress has been blocked in Syria.

But the picture is very confusing. It doesn’t seem to be a national ban. Different ISPs are doing different things. SCS is currently providing free access to Blogger. But some WordPress blogs are blocked, and other WordPress blogs are free.

The revolving door of blocking and unblocking has happened before.

It makes a mockery of the ‘ban’. Why have a ban for some subscribers and not others? And anyway, the ways around the restrictions are easy even for the technophobe.

And if different ISPs are doing different things, it does raise the question - is this ‘ban’ coming from officials, or is this the companies making the decision? It’s a bit like self-censorship among journalists - there is no official list of banned subjects, just the list made up by every writer.

A few years ago Syria went through access bans on Hotmail and Yahoo Mail. It was a similar revolving door. One would be banned, another would be freed. But in the end, someone realised the restrictions were based more on paranoia than policy, and everything was un-blocked.

Let’s just hope this is the beginning of the same thing for Syria’s blogs.

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