Saudi Arabia to tighten restrictions on Internet cafes
Saudi authorities plan to introduce tougher regulations on Internet cafes that include barring those under 18 years of age and access to websites deemed offensive to Islam and the political system, a newspaper reported Saturday, September 8.
Under the new regulations to be imposed soon, customers must refrain from visiting sites which abuse Islam, state security and its regime, and those promoting crime and immorality, Al-Watan daily said. Teenagers who have not reached 18 years of age will only be able to visit Internet cafes with their fathers. The cafes must also implement complete segregation of the sexes.
The Internet service introduced to conservative Saudi Arabia less than two years ago is closely monitored by King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology, which filters and blocks undesired sites.
Authorities in the city say over 95 percent of some 400,000 blocked sites deal with pornography and the rest comprise political and social subjects that violate the country's laws.
There are about two dozen private Internet service providers in the kingdom, where experts are predicting the number of users to double before the end of 2001. — (AFP, Riyadh
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)