The Oman Telecommunications Company Censorship Effort
Omantel, the first telecommunications company in Oman, is the main provider of Internet services for the country. The government holds the majority share of stock in this company, totaling 70%, and is helping to provide the lion's share of Internet access for their people. The famous Omantel Powernet is the only Internet service in Oman providing broadband access. Using ADSL2+ technology, they have successfully installed their countries first 512k-16Mbps bandwidth connection. With over 1.7 million individual subscribers, Omantel is without a doubt THE most successful Internet provider in the area. Omantel also provides 3G high speed data service that allows for mobile Internet connectivity. This technological expansion has been a real plus in the daily lives of people in Oman.
The censorship efforts of Omantel communications are an effective means of eliminating possible conflicts of interest before they begin. Censorship works on a simple premise: To stop the harassment and manipulation of people who are capable of using products and services that improve their way of life. The freedom of the Internet provided far too many loopholes for a criminal element that can't really be seen or heard. While there are not many ways to get around the censorship efforts, there's also not much of a demand to.
Omantel works with the Sultanate of Oman to extensively filter offensive Web sites and content revolving around illegal drugs, critics of the Islamic religion, and various forms of free expression. While discussion about the political situation of Oman is not forbidden, flagrant attempts to create chaos and turmoil for the people of Oman through the use of political rhetoric is strictly forbidden.
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Omantel feels it's their duty to keep their Internet users safe. While a few business factions and personal freedoms may suffer because of the censorship efforts, the regulations make a lot of sense in the big scheme of things. E-commerce is by and large unaffected by the censorship efforts, all except for certain advantages that complete freedom of information can provide. The Internet can be a very dangerous place, and if censorship regulations are not put in place to protect the rights of people who may be targeted by criminal organizations or individuals, then E-commerce as a whole stands to lose a lot of credibility. This is the reason for Omantel's strong censorship provisions: They have to protect their financial well being.
Omantel is adamant about censoring Web sites that promote freedom of expression, and in a great majority of the cases, these "expressions" of freedom are unprotected by the financial sector of life. Having an interest in complete "self expression" has been deemed a nuisance and possibly damaging inclusion to the business lives and realistic goals of Oman as a whole. One things for sure, censorship on the Internet is a must. Self expression, purposeless promotion of anarchy, and other forms of disruption can not and should not be tolerated by online businesses and the people who use the Internet to improve the quality of their daily lives.