Monday, 24 May 2010

Blockheads Reprised

It would appear that the UAE's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (Or TRA to you an' me) has blocked YouTube's age verification screen.

The problem was highlighted on Twitter yesterday when a link to the now infamous 'Sheikh Zayed Road Madness' video was shared - the link came back with the blocked splash screen on both Etisalat and Du networks. A good link is, BTW, here.

Although the first assumption is that the block was because of the nature of the content, which is a group of nutters endangering the lives of motorists on Dubai's busiest road by pulling doughnuts and the like, this was not in fact the case

(Dubai's police website still allows you, rather charmingly, to key in number plates and get a record of fines and the like without requiring any corroborating evidence that it is, in fact, your own plate you're looking up. So you can look up these chaps' driving history if you want.)

What had happened was the video had been flagged for age restriction (you can't actually tag a video with an age limit on YouTube when you post it, it has to be 'flagged' and a YouTube staffer will review and age restrict the video) and therefore viewers were sent to the YouTube Age Verification Page.

And THAT is the bit that had been blocked. One can only assume that 'if you need to be asked, the answer's no' is the policy in place here.

Helpfully, Etisalat's Twitter Twit suggested to me that YouTube itself was responsible for the block, which is patently not the case, and then referred me to YouTube's Terms of Service which, of course, are totally irrelevant to the point in question.

Have you read YouTube's TOS? Here. Fill yer boots. Bet you can't finish it without going mad.

In the meantime, we await the results of the investigation that is being conducted, I am sincerely advised, into whether it is morally or culturally reprehensible to answer the question: "Are you over 21?"


Luke said...

Will I be arrested for letting my 8 year old daughter watch some of the video? We got bored and stopped watching halfway thru. Does it have a pornographic finale that I missed and that warrants the censor?

Susan said...

Are we talking metal age here?

Susan said...

oops, mental!

Doug said...

So essentially, only things that are inoffensive to children are permissible in the UAE.

Talk about infantilising the culture. Then again, that does also go to explain rather a lot of the attitudes expressed by certain demographics in the UAE

Alainet said...

You just clicked a clone of the video:
There are 3 posts of the same clip uploaded on youtube, where below is the first original upload:
"Sheikh Zayed Road Madness!
by phildubai4x4 | 6 days ago | 62,074 views"

some user when uploading a clip, select that the content requires age verification. Therefore, when you clicked the link; it might of given you page restriction, but then the user did remove that restriction.

** so this is for all of you who posted a comment :)

alexander... said...

Alainet, you're wrong.

The most popular video, with 60k plus views, is still age verified. A user can't remove age verification, it's a YouTube function.

So from the UAE, the most popular (original) video is still blocked. The others, not being age verified, are fine.

Hearing reports that the culprits have been arrested, incidentally, although there is no verification of this right now...

KJ said...

The verification page has been blocked a looooooobg time ago my friend. As the videos that require is usually have saucy material and a violent one every handful.

Alainet said...

You are correct! Alexander. The video posted is blocked I was using chrome beta and I might have had that filter off, anyway the referred video in my last post with the 60k video is no longer there, I think the owner got shocked of the high media response on the video and the police catching 4 people because of that, as stated in Al Bayan Arabic news paper.

The 2nd part of your response is correct as well. however, to give some insight of why the video was blocked "Youtube uses a flag system that allows users to report videos as inappropriate which according to Youtube means any violation of the Youtube terms of service. A flagged video will be reviewed by an administrator who has numerous options at hand including setting the flag for age verification which requires users to login before they can view the video." Etisalat and DU block the age verification URL, so anything that directs to that is considered blocked.

* What do you think of this video on you tube, I think this should be called proper madness.

Thanks for the input guys.

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