A couple months ago we covered the Chinese government's effort to create a crowdsourced version
of their Internet censorship operation. Now, BusinessWeek is reporting on a variation of this trend in Saudi Arabia. As you probably know, Saudi Arabia maintains an extensive Internet censorship effort, but, in contrast to the Chinese model which involves tens of thousands
of workers, the Saudis only employs 25 people
. Instead, roughly 1,200 requests are sent in by Saudi citizens, about half of which are subsequently blocked by the authorities. Further, the article says that "only" forty percent of citizens say they are concerned about the censorship. However, one wonders why the censorship requests are even necessary -- in cyberspace, it is exceedingly easy to avoid content one doesn't want to see. If these users find certain websites offensive, personal blocking mechanisms could easily blacklist them, without disturbing the nearly half of Saudis who are nervous about the censorship efforts.