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Friday Top 5: Inaccessible Sites, Week Ending 4/24

We here at Herdict are always fascinated by what shows up in our reports; When YouTube was most recently blocked in China, we were amongst the first to know. And when Wikileaks was down for 12 hours, reports poured in through the Herdict Reporter informing us of its temporary absence. It is with this fascination in mind that we bring you the first edition of the Friday Top 5…this week’s topic? Inaccessible sites.

1. Once the home to a Bahraini-made proxy, the site now hosts a permanent error message from the Bahraini government, rendering the original proxy inaccessible both inside and outside of Bahrain (it’s worth noting that some users are interpreting and reporting the site as “accessible” since they can still reach the URL itself).

2. This report presents a strong example of what is called geolocational filtering. Although users all over the world can reach the site itself, users outside of Australia are prevented from watching videos for the sake of copyright laws; in the other words, the videos are limited to Australian users. Geolocational filtering, used by American television channel web sites as well, can be likened to region-specific DVDs and is a hot topic of discussion as of late.

3. Bahrain 4 U is a popular Bahraini forum that has been trending for the past 7 days; although the assumption might be that the site is filtered in Bahrain, the vast majority of inaccessible reports have come from France; fortunately, the number of accessible reports is nearly equal, leading us to believe that the site has been down at some point over the past week.

4. holds the distinction of being one of the world’s most commonly filtered sites. According to Herdict reports from the past week, users in China, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia are having difficulty accessing it. As all of those countries are either known to filter the site or to have filtered it at some point in time, we can deduce that it’s likely being filtered now. There are also inaccessible reports from other countries such as Thailand and Germany; some relate to specific videos as well (see detailed reports for each country for more information).

5. This looks like a case of misunderstood German; upon arriving at the site, users are greeted with a message that reads: “de website befindet sich momentan im umbau.” Since the text and image have the appearance of a blockpage, it seems that users are reporting the site as inaccessible. They’re partially right, but in fact, the German phrase actually means “The web site is currently under construction.”

About the Author: Jillian York

Jillian C. York is the Project Coordinator for the OpenNet Initiative and the part of the Herdict team that you should contact if you have any questions about other-language instances of the site or international press. She created most of the textual content on the site, so if you spot something funny, let her know! She's also the face behind the @Herdict Twitter feed.

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