Internet restrictions in the UAE are very serious:
- pervasive in the social and Internet tools areas
- substantial in the political area
- selective in the conflict/security area by the OpenNet Initiative in August 2009.
- The UAE has been listed as “Under Surveillance” by Reporters Without Borders since 2008.
- politically sensitive material
- all Israeli domains
- anything against the perceived moral values of the UAE.
- All or most VoIP services are blocked.
- The Emirates Discussion Forum (Arabic: منتدى الحوار الإماراتي), or simply uaehewar.net, has been subjected to multiple censorship actions by UAE authorities.
- TheWhatsApp calling function is blocked in the UAE, to comply with VoIP regulations.
Besides that Etisalat and du block parts of Wikipedia, all VoIP services such as Skype and SIP based services and some social networking services like hi5, Friendster, and all dating sites like Yahoo! Personals and Match.com.
For political reasons, the entire Israeli internet domain, .il, is also blocked.
A 2005 study, before du was established, also showed Etisalat sometimes block websites relating to the Bahá’í Faith.
A common method of circumventing internet censorship is by using VPN services.
In March 2015, the Dubai Police declared the usage of VPN (virtual private network) illegal, saying that “tampering with the internet is a crime”. Although action may not be taken against an individual for simply using a VPN, the usage of VPN combined with other illegal acts would lead to additional charges.