Kuwait is one of the younger provinces in the Arab region, but it boasts one of the deepest Internet penetration levels. As of 2011, about 74% of the population in Kuwait is connected to the Internet. The presence of multiple ISP’s also makes Kuwait unique. The significant presence of foreign workers, many of them active-duty military, demands that Internet access in Kuwait is readily available and state-of-the-art. Even so, Kuwait engages in the same filtering and monitoring practices of its Arab neighbors.
History of Kuwait
Kuwait sits near the top of the Persian Gulf, bordering Saudi Arabia and Iraq. It is perhaps most notable for being the catalyst which began Operation Desert Storm in 1990 which was a response to an invasion by Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
Kuwait began its existence as a sheikdom of the British Empire and did not gain its independence until 1961. At that time, the country’s oil industry began to grow and Kuwait reaped the reward of large oil reserves. The invasion by Saddam Hussein destroyed more than 700 of the country’s oil wells, and the process of rebuilding is still ongoing. This necessitates the presence of many foreigners in Kuwait who are contracted to work on oil production.
Kuwait is technically a constitutional monarchy with a full parliament. It is typically regarded as the most liberal country in the Arab region.
Internet in Kuwait
Kuwait has five ISP’s which are licensed and regulated by the Kuwaiti government. These are Fasttelco, Gulfnet, KEMS, Mada, and Qualitynet. The presence of multiple ISP’s drives competition for Internet subscribers and ensures a healthy market.
Most of the ISP’s in Kuwait enforce stringent data limits on their Internet Service. A standard package will provide about 2GB of transfer each month. This limitation has been heavily criticized by residents of the country.
Internet Filtering in Kuwait
Kuwait is far more liberal when it comes to filtering websites than other countries in the region, but the practice does occur. However, the fact that most foreign journalists practice self-censoring when it comes to matters involving the Royal Family helps to keep moderation of political and news sites to a minimum.
The owners of Internet Café’s in Kuwait are required to maintain records including the names and addresses of all who access the Internet in their Café. In addition, bloggers are watched extensively and censored whenever their posted content is deemed inappropriate.
At the present time, these are a few of the types of websites which are blocked in Kuwait:
- Gay, Lesbian, and pornographic websites. These kinds of sites are considered a violation of the moral values associated with Islam. These types of websites account for most of the blocking done in Kuwait.
- Dating sites such as Match.com. A strong sense of family values is associated with Islam, and therefore many of these websites are deemed objectionable.
- Political blogs. Bloggers are prohibited from a blanket condemnation of the government in Kuwait. Blogs are heavily monitored and watched for violations. If the blog in question happens to be hosted in Kuwait, legal actions can be taken against the blog owner.
Unblocking websites in Kuwait
While some may think using an Internet Café in Kuwait is a safe option for viewing restricted websites, this can be risky. As we mentioned, Café owners must maintain a record of visitors and supply that record to the government on demand. The only genuine way to unblock restricted websites in Kuwait is by using a VPN account like the one offered here.
A VPN is very effective in allowing Internet users to access communications apps and a host of other services like Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer which are not available in Kuwait. A VPN gives you an added level of security in addition to making these websites available, and that added security is something you will not find in an Internet Café.
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