In June, Dubai’s Ministry of Education banned the use of Google Search Engine as part of an initiative to promote entrepreneurship.
It cited concerns that it was being used by businesses and individuals to boost their rankings on Google.
The ban came after the Ministry of Culture, Culture, Sports and Tourism issued a warning in September last year that Google Search is being used to promote unauthorised activities and to undermine the government’s efforts to promote the country’s tourism industry.
“The Ministry of Tourism has warned that the use and misuse of Google search engine to promote illegal activities will be banned,” a ministry spokesperson told Al Jazeera.
“There are already strict regulations on such activity and we cannot allow such activities to continue.”‘
Unfair competition’The government also banned use of the Google Search engine in certain public places, such as government buildings, schools and cinemas.
“These restrictions have been taken in line with our public health and safety guidelines,” the ministry said.
“We are continuing to work with the Google search service provider to work out ways to mitigate these restrictions.”
Google has not responded to Al Jazeera’s requests for comment.
The ministry did not specify what activities were considered to be illegal, or what other activities were deemed to be legitimate.
In its decision, the ministry noted that many of the search engines that are currently being used are “not authorized by the government”.
Google’s policy also stated that it has “no control over how search engines are used in the UAE”.
“We have no control over what websites are searched, how they are searched or how the results are displayed,” Google told Al the same month.
“While we respect the rights of others to make their own decisions about how to access their data, we do not endorse their actions and do not offer any recommendations.”