Cairo, 19 April, 2009.
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information said today that the Saudi Ministry of Interior has imposed severe restrictions on the Saudi Internet Cafes, requiring owners of Internet Cafes to install censorship secret cameras inside cyber cafes, to register users names and identity numbers, in addition to limiting the use of Internet on the Café’s phone lines, as well as other measures to impose more restrictions on Internet users, in a country known for its restrictive repressive policy and its continuous hostility towards freedom of using this important tool.
It is worth mentioning that the Interior Ministry has issued 8 basic instructions to owners of Internet Cafes on 15 April, requiring them;
1. To install censorship secret cameras.
2. To prepare electronic or manual registration of users and identities.
3. The prohibition of using prepaid Internet cards and Satellite dishes to access the Internet without authorization of the competent authorities.
4. Prohibition of using any Internet device unless indicated in the certificate issued by the service provider.
5. The supervisor in the Cyber Café must be Saudi.
6. Those under 18 must not be allowed to use the Internet.
7. The cafes opening hours must be the same as other commercial shops, therefore the Café must close at 00:00.
8. All phones to be used in the Café must be under the Café’s name, “neither the owner nor any other person.”
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information affirmed that “These decisions do not go with the announcements of Saudi Arabia who claims it is thriving for reform, such decision is more like establishing a small prison inside each Internet café, and sadly, it indicates how the Saudi Interior Ministry perceives Internet users.”
It is to be noted that Internet users in Saudi Arabia, who actually exceed seven million users, most of them suffer from the tremendous expansion in the repressive policy adopted by the Communication and Information Technology Institution, who controls the use of the Internet In Saudi Arabia, and it now censors and blocks web sites in general, and also censors freedom of navigation, which proves that Saudi Arabia is one of the most suppressive countries with regard to freedom of Press and the Internet.
Freedom to use the Internet in Saudi Arabia- “Khesm Aneed” report: