Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Flickr blocked in UAE

Just had this conversation with Arvind, who lives in the United Arab Emirates (UAE):

Neil T.
have you seen this?
gagh ISP’s blocking that page
dear lord don’t tell me they’re blocking flickr
Neil T.
they are, that’s what the topic is about 🙁
dear lord they are
if someone’s reported it then there’s no chance in hell it’ll be opened

Not a good day for freedom of speech. More over at MeFi. It’s a pity as there’s a large number of users from the UAE over at Flickr.
It’s also a pity for me as now I know that at least one of my regular readers won’t be able to view any photos that I post here. This hasn’t been a good week for Flickr – there’s some fall-out over the moving of its data from servers in Canada to the US (again of free speech grounds), though this time it isn’t really Flickr’s fault.


  1. I need to vent about this but am hesitant to do it on my blog because of the monopoly of the ISP, if they block you, you’re screwed. A teacher at school’s also gotten mighty pissed about this, Etisalat (the ISP) blocked some English Charity thing that had nothing bad whatsoever.
    I’m tempted to write to the press as a vent.

  2. Flickr Blocked

    What a great start to the holidays. Neil just IM’d me about the fact that Flickr is now blocked in the UAE. Not to say that I’m surprised but I’m saddened. I was looking forward to convince my parents to…

  3. This reminds me a lot about China. :/

  4. There’s also a lot of discussion over Flickr not filtering out nude photos (even the “artistic” ones) and the concern of Muslim nations blocking the site altogether as a result.

  5. Oh, I guess your linked thread is about that! You didn’t mention it in the text above. My bad. =P

  6. Sorry for posting a third time… but maybe they’re blocking US servers since we crashed a spy plane in their backyard?
    I doubt it, but you know… conspiracy theories are fun. ^_^

  7. The funniest part is the guy who prepretrated the whole thing (if you believe mob justice) doesn’t even live in UAE, he lives in Brighton!
    It’s all getting a bit ridiculous now with a minority of UAE members decrying the evils of Flickr and it’s promotion of sins of the flesh, last time I checked Flickr wasn’t based in UAE and last time I checked, if you didn’t like something, you simply didnt go back.
    It will, however, be interesting to see what happens in the near future, Heather Champ talks of a new review system where all photographs uploaded to Flickr will be reviewed, which, as someone pointed out, opens a big loophole for supposedly private photographs. And I honestly wonder how many thousands of images are uploaded daily, how can they possibly review them all without causing a huge backlog?
    If it does end up like that, then prepare for the downfall of Flickr…

  8. How unfortunate that brilliant and creative people have lost such a great tool because a small segment that wants the whole world too see things their way or no way…I hope our efforts will cause a reversal of Etisalat’s decision. It has happened before, and as I understand it, flickr does offer an 18+ or an adult tag, right?

  9. The blanket ban’s been removed but the pictures are as yet unavailable. We seem to be winning the battle so far but there are still people who want to overthrow the unban and get it banned again.
    Hopefully the pictures will be available soon!

  10. And the pictures are back. My respect for Etisalat has gone up several notches that they actually unblocked something that a user reported and had nudity.
    So back to photosharing w00t!