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As the online war against Wikileaks rages on, the UAE government has spoken. Reports confirming that the countries leading ISP in addition to most governmental entities are also blocking access to Wikileaks’ new home from employees.
Emirates24|7 an online publication owned by Dubai Media Incorporated owned by the government of the Emirate of Dubai reported earlier today that Etisalat subscribers (the UAE’s leading telecom carrier & ISP and three fifths owned by the UAE government) is currently blocking access to the website.
Other Internet providers such as Du has yet to carry out the ban but is expected to fall inline soon confirming whether or not the ban has been issued by the UAE’s TRA (Telecommunication Regulatory Authority) which recently fell out of the limelight upon the resolution of the BlackBerry Service ban incident.
We’ve contacted TRA to confirm this but have yet to receive a reply. Additionally TRA hasn’t released anything on the matter as of the publishing this post.
The ban isn’t entirely unexpected due to the UAE’s notoriously strict information control coincides with the first day of 31st GCC summit today during which many expect the Wikileaks cables to at least cause some on-the-side discussions.
The report delves into other countries’ attempts to ban the whistleblower website such as France stating it would block Wikileaks from using French servers and China blocking access to the website on Sunday after Amazon refused to continue hosting the website earlier this week.
After having read some of the cables here at TNW ME, we expect the list of banning countries to get a bit longer quite fast starting with countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Iraq at the top of the list.
Update December 07, 2010: Reports of access being restored to UAE residents are coming in yet remain uncertain why the blockage occurred, and whether or not it will remain open and for how long.
Update December 09, 2010: It’s official Wikileaks is now fully blocked with the pretty ‘The Site is Blocked’ page you see above. We’re contacted UAE’s TRA but have pointed us in the direction of Etisalat and Du (the two major carriers in UAE) which we also contacted via email and twitter, but have in also failed to respond to questions regarding why this has happened.