TTLB: Banned in Saudi Arabia? Not Yet.

Not that this is a huge shock, but the BBC has a story today which points to research at Harvard that shows that Saudi Arabia is blocking access to many, many Internet sites from within their borders.
The research, conducted by Jonathan Zittrain and Benjamin Edelman, is pretty fascinating to review: you can find their summary of results here, and the directory to URL’s that have been blocked here.
So has the House of Saud decided to directly block the warblogger community yet? So far, it doesn’t appear so. Edelman and Zittrain’s current research does not tackle weblogs directly as a unique category; but I didn’t notice many weblogs at all on the blocked list, and none that I saw of our own ‘usual suspects’, so to speak.
However, I have dropped the authors an email bringing our little corner of the Internet to their attention, and have asked them a few followup questions: so hopefully they’ll get back to me with additional info.
I scanned the list for interesting sites, and didn’t find much of relevance to the weblogging community directly. But here’s a few choice URLs anyway:
Amnesty International’s pages on Saudi Arabia: Savor the irony on that.
The Onion: Apparently they don’t think its funny anymore either.
The IDF Home Page: Big shock there.
Hizbollah’s Web Pages: That one’s a bit weird.
The Jane’s Addiction Page: Jane says: screw you.
The Tokyo Toilet Map: Ha-what? Well, duh.
Rolling Stone Magazine: Go figure., “The Best English Translation of the Quran”, by Dr. Rashad Khalifa Step away from our holy book, infidel. See lack of sense of humor.
Check out the full list, and I’ll update if I hear back from the authors…
Update: They are Internet researchers, and they operate on Internet time, baby! Jonathan Zittrain has sent a brief reply back to my message. I had asked if they had tested domains such as * and his answer was that he didn’t believe so, but agreed was a good URL to add to future testing, both for Saudi Arabia and other nations (their research is not just on SA).
Also: You can sign up to get on a mailing list for updated information here. Zittrain and Edelman are developing a web application to “allow interested Internet users to receive from our servers a list of sites to be tested; to automatically and efficiently test access to those sites; and to report results to our servers for centralized and automated tabulation and analysis.” Check it out if you’re interested in participating!
And more: I swear I saw an item somewhere in the blogosphere yesterday which alluded to a software project underway to develop techniques which would allow Internet surfers in countries with filtering like Saudia Arabia’s to bypass the filtering. If anybody has a link or info on that project, please drop it in the comments.