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This article was published on June 6, 2010

Jordan Goes Big Brother On Internet Cafes

Jordan Goes Big Brother On Internet Cafes
Ahmad F Al-Shagra
Story by

Ahmad F Al-Shagra

Co-founder of, Ex-Editor of The Next Web ME, trainer, blogger, and programmer. Co-founder of, Ex-Editor of The Next Web ME, trainer, blogger, and programmer.

Jordanian CameraAs if the tight leash Jordan has on it’s residents and nationals isn’t enough to keep them in line, they have taken the ridicule up a notch with installing cameras into Internet Cafe’s to ‘prevent access to pornographic & offensive religious content’.

Additionally forcing Internet Cafe admins to install surveillance software on server and client machines to provide all data accessed by clients that will be retained after they access it for at least 6 months. During which they will be systematically collected by Ministry of Interior police to ‘inspect‘ the data.

Now let me break this down in three blocks to explain the severity of this situation, for Internet Cafe Owners:

  1. Internet Cafe Owners we have contacted have expressed their concern of disrupting their business due to the necessity to log each and every customers Personal ID number, name, and with cameras Photo.
  2. Internet Cafe Users: This will mean all of your financial information, passwords, personal information will not only be subjected to inspection by official authorities, but also by Internet Cafe Administrators who choose to do so. And they will be using the governments software. Good luck proving it if it happens, let alone preventing it to begin with.
  3. Governmental Officials: Utilization of employees in real legislation and improvement of the Jordanian Cyber Security Laws would be a better investment than to have your officers sifting through TERA Bytes of Data.

I personally am not shocked as this has been deployed for over a year in neighboring Syria, only without the surveillance camera touch.

Now some proponents of the idea might say it will decrease the level at which Pornography is accessed in public. Which is just pushing the problem behind closed doors.

Instead the Jordanian government should start putting their public servants to work solving this social illness and understanding what it is and how to prevent it, rather than install surveillance camera’s to track and abuse anyone who accesses their very vague defined ‘Offensive Content’.

Which leads to the question, who is going to draw the line between what’s offensive and what’s not? Good luck to his majesty’s Royal Police on this one, they’ll need it.

Source MBC

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