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In Dubai, police want control over Net

The debate over Internet control has spread to the Middle East.

The debate over who rightfully controls information on the Net has spread to the Middle East.

Etisalat, the United Arab Emirates telecommunications company, is now publicly feuding over the issue with the police chief in the sheikdom of Dubai, according to Reuters new service.

The Dubai police chief, Major General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, last week stated that the Information Ministry and the police--not Etisalat--should be in charge of issuing Internet licenses, reasoning that it is the job of the government to maintain social and political security, the report said.

Etisalat's general manager, Ali Salim al-Owais, retaliated by removing its representative from the country's Internet use board, saying that Tamim had "personally attacked and criticized" the Etisalat representative.

The Reuters report also stated that Dubai police recently conducted a seminar on how to prevent Internet transmission of forbidden topics, such as sedition and pornography.