Saudi Arabia bans BlackBerrys – They can’t spy on its users.
Saudi Arabia has become the second country inside of a week to block access to Research in Motion’s BlackBerry devices on grounds of national security.
The ban goes into effect on August 6, 2010 after a “grace period” in which local wireless companies were unable to bring BlackBerry devices (and their encrypted e-mail) into compliance with kingdom rules.
The Saudi government laid blame for the situation on the providers and on RIM, which is famously protective of customer messages.
The encryption used by RIM was good enough to thwart the security service in nearby United Arab Emirates, which earlier this week also blocked BlackBerry service until it could get access to people’s messages. link
Pakistan Bans Facebook – Government blocks the “blasphemous” site
On May 19, 2010, authorities in Pakistan blocked access to Facebook in response to popular outrage over a page on the social networking site that encourages users to post sketches of the Islamic prophet.
That page — titled “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!” — calls on Facebook users to upload drawings of Islam’s most holy of holy men to protest Islamic extremists’ threats and violence against past portrayers of Muhammad
‘We are not trying to slander the average Muslim,” the Facebook creators wrote on the information section of the page, but that disclaimer didn’t satisfy the Islamic Lawyers Forum. The Pakistani group made a request to Lahore’s High Court, asking it to order the government to block the “blasphemous” site. The court agreed; soon after the verdict was read, The Associated Press reported that members of the lawyers group were seen chanting, “Down with Facebook!” outside the courtroom. link
North Korea -Getting Caught on a Cell Phone is a Crime Punishable by Public Execution
In some countries cell phone use is banned, most notably North Korea, where getting caught on a cell phone is a crime punishable by public execution. . Cell phones have been banned in North Korea since a 2004 explosion in the city of Ryongchon.Their use fell under other bans that included the distribution of leaflets or contact with anyone outside of the country.
Fortunately, the restrictive nation is finally starting to lift the ban, allowing its citizens to carry mobile phones. link
Israel Bans iPad
iPad users can expect to have their new Apple tablets confiscated on arrival by Israeli customs. The ban by the Ministry of Communications has left users fuming and techies baffled. Dozens of confiscated Apple tablets are now being stored at Ben-Gurion until their owners can collect them on their way out of the country.
The ministry says the iPad’s wi-fi system is configured for the U.S. and does not conform to European standards, which are used in Israel, so it operates at higher power levels and is liable to cause interference on the wireless frequency. “A consumer who imports a British car designed to drive on the left knows that in Israel we drive on the right and the car is not suitable for use in Israel,” says ministry spokesman Yechiel Shavi.
Israeli experts say they cannot find any technical reason for the ministry’s decision. “I can’t understand why they are banning the iPad. I really don’t know. It doesn’t make sense, and it disturbs me as a technology freak,” says Dor Zakai, operating systems and hardware team leader at John Bryce Training in Israel. “Now it’s the iPad. What’s next?”
China Makes Skype illegal
China announced that it had made illegal the use of Skype, the popular internet telephony service, as the country continues to shut itself off from the rest of the world.
It was announced that all internet phone calls were to be banned apart from those made over two state-owned networks, China Unicom and China Telecom. “This is expected to make services like Skype unavailable in the country,” reported the People’s Daily, the official mouthpiece of the Communist party.
Napster Banned at 34 Percent of U.S. Colleges
Thirty-four percent of U.S. colleges and universities have banned the music file trading program Napster for Internet users surfing over campus servers, according to a report from technology market research company Gartner Group.
Napster allows its users to trade MP3-format music files over the Web, which violates music industry copyrights and robs artists of royalties for the reproductions, according to the RIAA. Napster says it is protected under the “fair use” doctrine, similar to the use of videotape recorders.
Laser Pointers Banned In Australia, Users Face $5000 Fine
Amateru astronomers, teachers and surveyors will have to justify carrying lasers under new bans aimed at avoiding “mass murder” if aircraft are targeted. New South Wales’ Premier, Morris Iemma, warned that all high-powered lasers would soon be classified as prohibited weapons and carrying any kind of laser – even harmless classroom pointers – without a good reason could result in two years’ jail or a $5000 fine.link
iPods Banned in Running Races
In 2007, USA Track & Field, the national governing body for running, banned the use of headphones and iPods at its official races.
Elite runners do not listen to music in races because they need to concentrate on their own bodies and hear their competitors, and some die-hard, old-school runners follow suit. Those runners – who prefer the sound of the crowd or their own breathing over, say, “Fergalicious” – cheered the headphone ban.
The new rule was created to ensure safety and to prevent runners from having a competitive edge.link