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News Link • Internet

Web-based apps pose tricky problem for Saudi monitors

•, By Matt Smith
Saudi Arabia remains a relatively closed society; gender mixing is restricted to a tight circle of relatives and family friends, and direct criticism of the ruling family or powerful conservative clergy is frowned upon. Morality police patrol the kingdom's few public spaces such as shopping malls to enforce rigid social rules.

Cyberspace presents considerably more complicated challenges than a shopping centre, however, and Saudi authorities are alarmed by the unfettered contact that the Internet allows, including for activists who spread news and information not covered by state media.

With just under half the kingdom's nearly 27 million population younger than 25, according to the CIA Factbook, Saudis are avid users of social media of all kinds.

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