Google Earth Blocked in Bahrain

7 Aug, '06

Now we know why the Ministry of DISinformation is so desperate to control the Internet:

Bahrain, as viewed through Google Earth before it was blocked by the Bahraini governmentAccording to Al-Wasat this morning, the Ministry of DISinformation has instructed the Bahrain Internet Exchange to block Google Earth. Possibly because through Google Earth, the whole world, let alone the Bahraini users, can zoom in and have a good look at palaces and islands which a normal Bahraini wouldn’t even dream of one day coming close to, let alone stepping foot in, and the glaring confiscation of virtually all but 3% of beaches of the islands.

And typical of the Bahriani government, they think that by forcing people to stick their heads in the sands, they no longer will complain about the disproportionate distribution of wealth, the dirth of lands (more than 95% of the whole of the country of Bahrain is in private hands, leaving nothing for development projects and low income housing etc) and the various other top-secret nature of land ownership in this country.

This step completely shows the moronic nature of the Ministry of DISinformation, and BIX with its unconstitutional board and the typical “control” mentality that the Bahraini government seems to think is the proper management ideology to adopt to run the country.

Well, they blocked it…




Filed in: PoliticsTechnology
Tagged with:

Comments (73)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Boilerman says:

    Still seems to work as of last night up to the last time I checked, 0900 this morning.

  2. mahmood says:

    Still works now in the office; however, I heard the news that BIX has received the instruction to block it yesterday noon, and as it was published in Al-Wast today, then you can be sure that it will be blocked. The reason it is still working on both of our systems is probably because of Batelco’s appeal (I am told it is appealing the block based on the amount of money they would have to spend in time and effort and software to get it done), at least they’re fighting it.

    However, Google Earth HAS been blocked on the internet providers directly connected to BIX: Kalaam, 2Connect and I think another ISP.

    The intention is to show that morons cannot rule the internet and no matter what they do (other than imprisoning everyone and confiscating all computing equipment) there is and will be several ways around that block.

    By the way, if you’re reading this from the Emirates, you can use the same technique to unblock Flickr and YouTube.

  3. Name says:

    I suggest that since people can still view it, take shitloads of pics from various important places in Bahrain, including the confiscated beaches and huge lands. Then publish those pics on various websites, not just flickr, any website which offers free accounts for image hosting should have these images featured. To show them that their scandalous confiscation and occupation of lands is not only shown in Google Earth. But in many other sources on the net.

  4. *sigh*
    No comment

  5. alfanan says:

    What’s next??! What’s next?!?!


    thanks mahmood for the instructions on how to ublock it!

  6. LiB Team says:

    Oh NO! Now they will tell me that they’re gonna block “World of Warcraft” WTF?

  7. Google Earth still seems to be working, but Google Maps and Wikimapia (which uses the Google Maps API) aren’t working for me. Google Maps isn’t giving me a “403 Forbidden” error though. It just isn’t loading and giving a timeout error after a while, so I don’t know if Batelco is reponsible for it. Is anyone else having the same problem?

  8. na9rawi says:

    Look at Israel on Google Earth. Places like Haifa, Tel Aviv are so blurred you would think you were turning blind. And then when you turn to the Arab town of Nazareth in Israel, you can see again!

    Next move to Beirut, where you can count the cars on the streets!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Google Earth has detected a network error. Please check your network connection and try again.


  10. “Google Earth could not contact the authentication server to activate your session”


  11. mahmood says:

    Same in the office now…

  12. Loki says:

    That sucks. Many an hour has been whiled away at the office looking at palaces and seeing if I can find my car anywhere in Bahrain.


    btw, great link!

  13. abdalla says:

    this is horrible man…
    we’re going backwards

  14. MooDY says:

    *Moody shrugs , started a notepad document to list all kind of insults and swearingZ * …

    Pile of poo poos … wht a Morons!

  15. Bahrainiac says:

    ArggHHH!!!! Wait a cotton-pickin’ minute!!! I PAY for Google Earth Pro, and now I can’t access what I pay for??!! Mo’, do you have a contact at MOI that I can call to ask them who and when they will refund my money? As I use this for my business, they are hurting my customers (the Bahrain Gov’t)!

  16. Eyad, the Great says:

    I just cant grasp the concept of not being able to view what I want at the time I want, why? all this for a couple Beach’s and Palaces?

    I really can’t understand it, it was one of the really cool gizmo’s on the INTERNET and turned out to be a very useful tool, not only to the public & average Joe, but to people who travel alot and the list goes on.

    the Government in this country is just against technology and appears tome they would like to see us back on Camels and Donkey’s, as the new methods of transport might carry information as well and become a threat!!

    I mean, why are we always running back wards? wifi and Blue tooth needs to be licensed, we are the only country that requires that, why? its a freaking license free technology? for gods sake, cars, laptops, mobile phones..etc comes equipped with that!!!

    I need to stop or I will use the whole blocs bandwidth ranting about this amazingly retarded system we have as a country.

    Just for the recored, the bored members of BIX don’t even know about it being shut.

  17. Adel says:

    Still working fine here

  18. Ethan says:

    Unless something is done, soon everything will be regulated.

    Can’t have the people thinking freely, can we? For the good of the nation and Islam and our ‘culture’ we need more robot drones who will believe everything we tell them on the evening news and the newspapers. Free thought is sinful and evil. We want to control you for your own good!

    … assholes.

  19. Eyad, the Great says:

    I guess its just another American dream experiment, where the general public see, believe and live what the political leaders want them to.

    something should be done, and we as people living and still willing to live in Bahrain do something, I for one, don’t want to have kids that are not free to think the way they want and learn what ever they want to learn.

    this is extremely annoying me.

  20. F says:

    Presently, its working on my PC.

    It is really stupid for them to block Google earth.

    I concur with alfanan and the rest of the panel – MORONS!!!!!

  21. haythoo says:

    working fine with me also

  22. Yeah, Google Earth is back up, but Google Maps ( ) is still blocked.

  23. mahmood says:

    Naaah, we can’t be THIS effective! It *is* back on at the moment!

  24. Oren says:

    You can also try NASA WorldWind

  25. Boilerman says:

    You know, this reminds me back in the day when you were only allowed to use Batelco telephones and fax machines…. when having a cordless phone or a funky Mickey Mouse phone or even a modem meant that you had to smuggle it in from somewhere like Saudi or mail order it. Sheesh, hey, remember Wildcats mahmood? hehe.. okay, I’ll stop, makes us all look older.


  26. mahmood says:

    You REALLY showed your age Boilerman! (and it was Stray Cats running on WildCat software.)

  27. moclippa says:

    Its just sad that its started to come to this.

    Funny progression of blocking too – Porn sites ——————— Google Earth.

    So Google Earth is now nearly equitable to porn?


    *Bangs head against the wall till he wakes up the next day in a confused stuppor, dragging his body up from the floor*

    Ah… it all makes sense now…. perfect sense

  28. Anonymous says:

    Vaseline Sales will be going up noooo!!!???

  29. Boilerman says:

    A certain MOI spokesman was heard saying “Pr0n’s to blame! It’s not our fault Google Earth gets blocked as well!”

    The pitfalls of a pornocracy (a pornocracy is a pseudo-democracy based on a meriterious view of censorship.) 😛

  30. Ingrid says:

    LOL! That was a great scroll down seeing the next headline…of course you knew how to unblock it..who works for them anyway?

  31. Mr Anonymous says:

    When it comes to the net, the MoI’s formula seems to be: something needs to be done, this is something, ergo this must be done. Even in its own terms it doesn’t work since it can be simply bypassed by use of a proxy, so as with everything to do with the MoI’s attitude to the net – what’s the point? The only practical result is bad PR with collateral damage to Bahrain’s image.

    Nasrawi, that’s a very interesting if Google Earth is censoring Israel – especially if its not doing the same with Lebanon. If you’re right you could be onto something big. Look at the storm when Google censored itself in China. Anyone want to blog about this? You could be breaking a big story.

  32. mahmood says:

    I’ve noticed those “Area 51” type holes in Google Earth, and suspected that it must be a certain request a country makes with justification to Google, who will then not resolve that particular area to more than 100 meter resolution or something blurry like that.

    You’re right though, it should be investigated.

  33. mahmood says:

    Oren thanks for suggesting WorldWind which looks even richer than Google Earth. Alas, it’s only for Windows as it works on .NET exclusively.

    Will see if I can run it on the Parallels environment in a few minutes.

  34. Ibn says:


    So sorry to hear of this….arrghh..this makes my blood boil! Time for some virtual guerilla warfare! 🙂

    Is it possible to have a website access google-earth without having the google-earth URL go through the Bahraini ISP? I wonder. If that is the case, then we need someone nice enough on the outside to do just that, and send the new URL over. When its discovered, change the name, etc etc.


  35. mahmood says:

    or just use Tor! click the link in the original article and ye shall be saved.

  36. Now GOOGLE VIDEO appears to be blocked also!! Can someone else in Bahrain confirm this?

    And Google Earth is once again blocked.

  37. Yousif says:

    yep i can confirm that. Apparently Batelco banned the IP address of Google Video and Google Earth, blocked and

    What’s next?

  38. Yousif says:

    Incase you are wondering why.. some guy put anti-government and/or misleading labels all over the royalty’s palaces. Something like, here lives Michael Jackson and here lives the King’s wife etc. Ruined it for the rest of Bahrain :/

  39. bahraini4eva says:

    “Incase you are wondering why.. some guy put anti-government and/or misleading labels all over the royalty’s palaces. Something like, here lives Michael Jackson and here lives the King’s wife etc. Ruined it for the rest of Bahrain :/ ”

    It’s unfortunate that some jackass can ruin it for the rest of the country. It’s inevitable that things like these arise, but banning more and more sites only results in frustration and outrage among the public. We have a constitution that guarantees our freedom of publishing, printing and expression, so our gov’t must hold its part of the bargain! Let’s hope that BIX along with our Ministry of Info will discard its earlier decision and allow google earth to once again operate in the Kingdom.

  40. Yousif, I don’t think Wikimapia itself is blocked, but it gets all of its data from Google Maps (which IS blocked), so that’s why it isn’t functioning.

  41. mahmood says:

    bahraini4eva, I totally agree with you… if true, then this is nothing short of collective punishment. so maybe Bahrain is learning from the Israelis?

  42. Ehsan says:

    I’m with you all the way until you said someone ruined it for the rest of us. As far as I understand, that person labeled pictures obtained from Google Earth. What exactly is wrong with that?

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but talking about where Michael Jackson lives or which palaces belong to the King’s wives is not a crime! The King is not the Prophet. We should be allowed to point out that royalty are stealing beaches and building palaces, and drawing arrows to point them out isn’t a reason to punish anyone.

    Unfortuantely this is a trap we fall in all the time. First comes the collective punishment, leading people to focus on the “punishment” part and focus on the “collective” part.

    To borrow the Israeli analogy from above, everyone is saying Lebanon is collectively being punished for the actions of Hezbollah, but that statement in itself is an admission of guilt towards Hezbollah.

    I haven’t seen what the guy put up anywhere on the Bahraini webosphere, so I’m guessing it wasn’t that big of a deal anyway. As for condemning something because it’s “anti-govermnet”, that’s such a broad undefined statement it makes me sick. What exactly is anti-government… this post? Mahmood’s blog? How about anyone with a pulse and an opinion? Seems to me “anti-government” can be used as an excuse to lock up anyone, whether they are complaining about electrical outages or supporting prisoners in gitmo.

    Anyway Google Earth is back up for me this morning. I wish they’d make up their mind so we know what to do about this.

  43. mahmood says:

    How right your are Ehsan… it’s working with me again when I checked.

    Is this a fight between two forces I wonder?

    I hope whoever won now and unblocked it continues to win, and I personally am behind him all the way.

    Batelco, grow some balls and tell the others to stuff it and go to court to get an order first before you block it again.

  44. RedBirdiii says:

    You can only change the proxy and everything will be all right..
    If you don’t know.. I’ll write here the instructions..

  45. Eyad, the Great says:

    any one used tor?

    I did and GE is still not working.

  46. Independant says:

    Hey Mahmood,

    I’ve downloaded the Tor thing, but I can’t get it to work. I’m currently in the UAE and I’m really sucky at the inet. =p

    Anyways, everything is blocked over here.

  47. mahmood says:

    Very strange… it worked first time for me. I assume you followed all the steps detailed, so why don’t you go to their support section and make it your mission to identify what went wrong and get it to work then write a “how to” for others to follow?

    I would be happy to host that ‘how to’ here for others to benefit from.

  48. Independant says:

    Steps? O__o

    What steps? xD

  49. alif says:

    Question: The little island of Um Na3san, between Saudia and Bahrain, is that where the King’s residence is? The building at the top of the Island?

    If that’s so, then the palace controls the bridge to Saudia as it passes inside its territory!

    What about that private island resort from the seemingly-palace? is that one of the things which the government doesn’t want the people to see?

    Just an innocent question 🙂

  50. testor says:

    I’m lokking for a kmz file to view the subject.

  51. Branden says:

    Hi All Experts,
    Does anyone use google earth images as ground image planes for use in aerial scenes. I know how to stitch them together but are there any tools or tricks to make sure that the images are at the same height, angle and such to make sure they stitch well. I know in the pro version you can get bigger images but im not going to pay for the pro version when i could stitch multiple images together…

  52. Jeff says:

    I guess folks are going to need democratic access to geospatial imagery content, which is coming soon…

    can’t be blocked

  53. Waleed says:

    Congratulations on being mentioned in the Feb. 2007 issue of “Maximum PC” magazine.

  54. mahmood says:

    Oh wow, thanks for letting me know. Do you have a link?

  55. Anonymous says:

    :wub: الكره الارضيه

  56. Anonymous says:

    Story in L.A. Times today about Google, Bahrain, and our host Mahmood.

    Is this old?,1,1102601.story?coll=la-headlines-business&ctrack=1&cset=true

  57. Anonymous says:

    it is. dec 4, 2006.

  58. Anonymous says:

    it is easy to access google earth, even if the country deny it.
    you have just to use a public proxy server.
    look for a “public proxy server’ on internet and take one an configure your PC with it.
    The traffic will be pointed to porxy server rather than the google earth server, this connection will be invisble for the filters that the provider is putting there.

  59. This one makes sence “One’s first step in wisdom is to kuesstion everything – and one’s last is to come to terms with everything.”

Back to Top