Everyone’s heard of The Great Firewall of China and it’s international eyebrow-raising responses from the internet community. China’s Firewall has come into the spotlight with criticism from all around the world. But China isn’t the only one, and it isn’t even necessarily the biggest — it’s just the one people talk about most. There is one Firewall in particular that is close to and may even surpass the Great Firewall of China when it comes to complete and utter control of information. Which country? Saudi Arabia of course.
Everyone agrees the internet is full of both the good and the bad, and that you can’t necessarily have one without the other. The only real question is, whose to decide what’s right and what’s not? Who can say whether a country is right or wrong to decide what’s good for its people; what they can or cannot access, and where they get their information from. Generally speaking, every man or woman should decide for themselves; but some countries have made the decisions for their citizens and that’s the world we live in.
Saudi Arabia is such a country. It’s approach may be vastly different from that of China, it may not be making the headlines by requesting that websites tailor their content to suit the Kingdom’s likings, but nevertheless, Saudi Arabia’s firewall is just as powerful and as just as controlling, and all the more dangerous in its subtle and invisible way.
An anonymous NST reader in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia provided us with the data needed for this report — without it, this story would have been impossible. It runs a lot deeper than we’ll ever be able to research, but what we have certainly was a shocker. First some background though.
Saudi Arabian telecommunications is locked off to a single internet provider: the Saudi Telecom Company (STC), a government-subsidized corporation in charge of all telephone, cellular, internet, and other data exchange mediums that take place in Saudi Arabia. This single-company perfect monopoly is government protected, and emerged as a result of privatization in the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Telex, Mail, and Telephone in 1998. Since then it has been involved in a campaign of complete information control on all in- and out-bound traffic in the Kingdom.