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Egypt Bans Online Porn, Some Fear It Could Go Further

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Egypt Bans Online Porn, Some Fear It Could Go Further
[ Technology]

Censorship is a tricky subject. It’s especially bad when said censorship is taking a place in a country without proper protections for free speech and expression. One of those countries is Egypt where the government has just banned online porn. Some fear that the ban is just the beginning of a crackdown on other freedoms.

The EFF reports that Egypt’s Prosector General, Abdel Maguid Mahmoud, ordered an online porn ban on Wednesday. Mahmoud is using a three-year-old ruling from Egypt’s administrative court that said “freedom of expression and public rights should be restricted by maintaining the fundamentals of religion, morality and patriotism.”

The first thing to go under this ruling will be porn, but what’s to follow? The court ruling is too broad and can be used to block numerous forms of speech just because it goes against the ruling party’s views on religion or morality. It’s particularly worrisome in Egypt as the country is trying to transition away from the Mubarak regime to a more democratic government that claims to respect the rights of all citizens, regardless of their views.

The EFF says that Egypt could go one of two ways with the ban. The country go just go all out and ban every porn site that it finds. This would require a rather expensive and extensive filtering system that Egypt might not be able to afford at the moment.

The other option is that porn ban opponents take the ruling to the high courts. The courts might throw out the ruling, or they might uphold it. It’s hard to tell what will happen in Egypt at the moment due to numerous parties from many different walks of life all vying to have their voice heard.

Regardless of what happens, the EFF is right in that Egyptian citizens will most likely turn to VPNs and Tor for the time being. These services were used during the Arab Spring in Egypt to protect the identities of bloggers and social media users who were using the Internet to spread information to the outside world. Now these same services will be used to protect the identities of those who only want to use the Internet as they see fit.

Egypt Bans Online Porn, Some Fear It Could Go Further
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