Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Internet Filtering

Q1: Who is the concerned authority for Internet Filtering in Saudi Arabia?

The concerned authority is the Permanent Security Committee for the Internet, which was formed pursuant to the Cabinet resolution No. 163 on March 4th 1997, which included the introduction of the Internet to the Kingdom.

This committee is headed by the Ministry of Interior and a number of multiple entities as members, including the Communication and Information Technology Commission. For more information see “General information about Internet Filtering”.

Q2: What is the role of the Communication and Information Technology Commission, CITC, in Internet Filtering?

The role of CITC is based on what was stated in the Cabinet resolution No. 229 on September 28th 2004, and according to the directions of the Permanent Security Committee stated below:

  • Receiving and implementing directives from the concerned authorities, as well as receiving blocking and unblocking requests from public users.
  • Supervising the companies and entities providing Internet services, and ensure that they comply with the Internet Filtering requirements.
  • Develop the technical and organizational perceptions for filtering Internet services in coordination with the concerned entities.
  • Block pornographic websites and websites that provide the means to bypass Internet Filtering, and refer other than that to the Permanent Security Committee.

Q3: Does CITC receive all blocking and unblocking requests?

CITC receives all blocking requests from public users, except for the following:

  • Requests relating to tribes and families, since the concerned authority for requests related to family/tribe issues is the Province Emirate the requester belongs to.
  • Requests related to (defamation), (cursing) and (insulting) matters that are stipulated in the Anti-Cyber Crime Law, then you may submit a report to the security authorities (a Police Station) or use the “Kollona Amn” App by the Ministry of Interior. For more information about the app, please visit the following links:

https://twitter.com/kamnapp

https://facebook.com/kamnapp

  • Requests related to the imitation of a registered logo or a trademark, as the concerned authority for receiving the request is the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
  • Requests related to electronic publishing and intellectual property rights, as the concerned entity for receiving applications is the Ministry of Culture and Information.

As for unblocking requests, the requests are received and then referred to the concerned authority.

Q4: How can I request to block an offensive website?

You can do this by filling out the blocking request form on (www.filter.sa). A ticket is created for each link mentioned in the request, and then the tickets are automatically assigned to the filtering team at CITC to study them and take the appropriate action.

Q5: What is the mechanism by which the process of blocking is done?

When receiving blocking requests from the users, each link in the request is studied by the filtering team, and when pornographic content or tools for bypassing the filtering systems are found, the link is blocked directly. If there are other violations, the link/website will be referred to the concerned authority for directions to block the link/website. For more information about the filtering mechanism, you may visit “General information about Internet Filtering”.

Q6: How can I request to unblock a website?

You can do this by filling out the unblocking request form on (www.filter.sa), where a ticket is created for each link mentioned in the request, and then the tickets are automatically assigned to the filtering team at CITC to study them and take the appropriate action.

Q7: Can I raise a request through any other mediums of communications, such as Email or Fax?

To ensure the quality of work and documentation, we hope that requests will only be sent through the electronic forms stated above, and we may not be able to look through any requests received otherwise.

Q8: Do you really consider all blocking/unblocking requests sent by users?

The team makes every effort to consider hundreds of requests received by CITC daily through the electronic forms, where a ticket for each link in the request is created, and then is assigned to the filtering team in CITC to study it and to take the appropriate action.

Q9: How long does it take to process requests?

Currently and according to the number of requests received by CITC, and according to the nature of the requests, it takes up to three working-days to process the request and take appropriate action on it. Some other websites may take additional time for further study or need to be referred to the concerned authority. The working hours for the team are the official working hours at CITC, which are from Sunday to Thursday, from 7:30 am to 3:30 pm).

Q10: I have sent you more than once and my request was not fulfilled. What is the reason?

The filtering team studies the requests with care, and only those requests that are consistent with the national internet filtering policy are accepted, also the filtering team does refer what is needed to the concerned authority.

Q11: How can I inquire about what has been done with my request?

If your request has not been fulfilled, you can inquire about it after the period mentioned in the automated message that you receive after filling the electronic form, and that is through the email or fax that appears in the same message, and your inquiry will be answered as much as possible within two working-days.

The current available inquiry channels:

E-mail:

Inquiries about blocking request: block@internet.gov.sa

Inquiries about the request to unblock: unblock@internet.gov.sa

Fax:

Follow-up to the block and unblock requests: +966 (11) 4619486

Q12: If I am a website owner and I ask that it be unblocked, what are the documents required by me?

  1. First, you must remove the violations completely from your website before requesting to unblock it.
  2. Fill out the prepared pledge form.
  3. Make sure to attach the following documents:
  • A clear copy of a valid ID.
  • A reliable document proving that you own the blocked website.
  • Any other necessary documents CITC deems important.

Q13: What are the measures taken by CITC towards porn websites’ owners or promoters?

The CITC’s role is to prevent access to pornographic websites. Regarding the prosecuting of the owners: According to Article Six in the Anti-Cyber Crime Law, which criminalizes such activities, and according to the law, the security agencies (Police Stations) are the concerned authority for controlling and receiving reports of such related crimes and their likes that are stated in the law (Anti-Cyber Crime Law)

Q14: My website has been compromised. What is the concerned authority for receiving complaints related to this matter?

Police Stations are the concerned authority for receiving these types of requests that may be a cybercrime and fall under the Anti-Cyber Crime Law (Issued in March 27th 2007).

Q15: I have been blackmailed, libeled, threatened, or insulted. What is the concerned authority that I can complain to against those who offended me?

According to the Anti-Cyber Crime Law, the concerned authorities regarding Internet Abuse are Police Stations. You may submit your complaint to the nearest police station or use the “Kollona Amn” App by the Ministry of Interior. For more information regard the app please visit the following links:

And for the removal of the content of abuse, the complaint can be submitted directly to the website the content is published in.

Q16: How can I submit a complaint to the websites in general and specifically the social media websites to request the removal of offensive material?

Most social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, provide tools and forms for users to submit their complaints. You can also benefit from the guidelines issued by CITC showing how to deal with abuse on social media by visiting the following link.

Q17: How can I request the removal of content that appears in Google search engine?

In order to remove content from Google search engine, you may contact Google using the following link.

Q18: How can I report smartphone applications?

If it’s a request related to a mobile app, please contact the app’s content provider and the concerned app store on the following links: Google Store, Apple Store, Windows Store.