Sigh...why doesn't someone think these things through before making a public announcement? The latest idea reported in Emarat al-Youm a UAE Arabic language newspaper, is to restrict use of 'public internet' to holders of UAE National ID cards only. Public internet would include hotels, coffee shops, the airport or internet cafes. And who uses these places for net access? And who doesn't have an ID card? Why, every tourist who comes to Dubai. Can you imagine a visiting businessman coming to Dubai and finding he is banned from using the internet? The people this ban seeks to target aren't sitting in internet cafes surrounded by tourists writing emails to Mum or playing "Halo". They're in their own homes in a room with the door shut.
Tourists expect access to the net while they travel, business people expect internet access so they can do business. All this ban will do if it comes into effect, and surely someone will see sense before then, is to make selling Dubai to tourists/businesses even harder.
People will be barred from accessing the internet publicly in the UAE without a national identity card under an initiative by the Interior Ministry to crack down on cyber crime and child sex abuse, UAE daily Emarat al-Youm reported on Wednesday.
The initiative will allow authorities to monitor everyone who accesses the internet from public locations such as internet cafes, coffee shops and malls, the Arabic newspaper said.
Emarat al-Youm said the Interior Ministry is working with the Emirates Identity Authority to introduce the internet restrictions.
The newspaper said the restrictions would be come into force “soon”, without being more specific.
The UAE aims to issue mandatory national ID cards its citizens and expatriates by the end of 2010 under an ambitious population registration programme.
The single card is expected to later replace other forms of identification in the UAE such as labor permit, health card and driving license.
Emarat al-Youm said the technology would also be made available to parents to monitor their children’s internet use.
Major General Nasser Lakhraibani-Naimi, Interior Ministry secretary-general, said the initiative would “develop levels of awareness and protection of children against the potential risks from the use of the internet”.