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Submission + - Bing Requiring Strict SafeSearch in Arab Countries 9

D-Fly writes: Well, here's another nail in Bing's coffin as far as I am concerned. They've introduced regional preferences that are not changeable when you are traveling. I am in North Africa right now, in one of the Arab countries, and Bing's preferences are not allowing me to turn off Safe Searching. The preferences page says "Your country or region requires a strict Bing SafeSearch setting, which filters out results that might return adult content." Even people who don't use search engines to look for adult content often turn off "Safe Searching" since it can block material that isn't pornographic. But Microsoft won't give people here that option. Google on the other hand still permits "Safe Search" to be switched off.

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Bing Requiring Strict SafeSearch in Arab Countries

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  • by Haedrian (1676506) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @05:04AM (#33273662)

    Turning off search search in Arab countries is illegal. While you're in the Arab country you have to abide by their laws - which includes not being able to view adult material.

    Even if this wasn't the case, if it let you change your region because "I'm from the US" then all the natives could do the same.

    If you're complaining about safe search being 'imperfect' that's another seperate complaint.

    If you're complaining about Arab countries not letting you watch adult content, then there's not much you can do round 'ere.

    • by D-Fly (7665)

      No, I am not complaining about "Arab countries not letting me watch adult content"; read the post again. The compliant is that Microsoft is making the choice for me. "Turning off Safe Search" is of course not illegal here or anywhere else on earth. Looking at pornography may be illegal, but changing a search setting so that I can search the entire web is certainly not included in the civil code here or in any other country. You are confusing two different things.

      • by Haedrian (1676506)

        Turning off Safe Search will allow you to access material which is illegal in that country where you are.

        You may not agree with this (I don't), you may not like censorship - but until there is a "Filter out pornographic material ONLY", so you can see what else is filtered out (violence?), Microsoft is keeping in line with the country's laws as best it can.

        • by D-Fly (7665)

          In Tunisia, turning on your computer and looking at,34826 [] will allow you to access material which is illegal in the country where you are. That's Reporters Without Borders, which has campaigned for the release of Tawfiq Ben Brik and other imprisoned Tunisian journalists.

          In Saudi Arabia, turning on your computer and looking at [] will frequently allow you to access material which is illegal in the country where you

          • by Haedrian (1676506)

            Blackberry sure folded quickly under commercial pressure, didn't they? It's a slippery slope.

            This is an interesting point. Do you think that companies should be above the law?

            Censorship is a part of the governments' law. I know we might find it weird and opressive and bad by our 'liberalist' standards. But what if it wasn't one of those?

            What if say, google decided its powerful enough to ignore lawsuits? Or that distributing child pornography is a-ok? Silly examples I know, but same thing really?

            • by D-Fly (7665)

              You kind of ignored my real point there, which was about information censorship. If you read the first of my links (, you'll see that Tunisia already filters out opposition websites without any help from Microsoft/Bing; similar to mainland China's efforts. Ben 'Ali has decided that it's best that his subjects not read too much about what people say about him and his awful little cabal elsewhere. Reading those things is illegal in Tunisia, too.

              Do you really want to suggest that this censorship is abo

              • by Haedrian (1676506)

                Censorship is wrong by our standards. There is no giant book in the sky which says "Censorship is wrong". Perhaps Arabic countries who have dictators who want to control their information are bad according to you or your standards.

                "Censorship is wrong" is just a (modern) western opinion on this matter - and even then, there's always "Top Secret" and military officials who want to remove leaked information from the internet.

                The point remains that they are the government, and that they make the rules - and pe

                • by D-Fly (7665)

                  I sense a budding social scientist who's been reading a little too much 1990s French Theory. And probably one who's never had to actually live in a country with a nasty authoritarian regime.

                  • by Haedrian (1676506)

                    Well you're right about the last part, but not the rest.

                    I just think that an institution which should [!] have its people's best interests in mind should be able to impose rules on institutions which have their own profits in mind.

                    What you see as Google being a shining beacon of light, fighting against the chinese oppressors - I see as a company which is trying to impose its own laws on the government.

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