A close-up of your friend's latest meal; a cat that is apparently too cute to be ignored; someone's bizarre idea of photographic art. Once upon a time, the great array of visual oddities provided by the online site Flickr was off limits to the UAE. No longer, say authorities, who plan on lifting the ban on the website as we report in today's Business section. After having been censored for concerns related to online stalking and suspicious dating, users are now free to while away the hours on content that we fear is no more salacious than doggy's latest nap pose.
Of course, caution is always called for when using public platforms. Such venues can be fertile ground for online predators or scammers. But many parents and adolescents have grown wise to the dark alleys of internet surfing and should be entitled to use this type of file-sharing site responsibly. After all, censorship is at best a partial, short-term solution. It often spurs unwarranted interest, and people usually find ways to satisfy their curiosity. Take Facebook, for example. Once banned, it now functions as an integral platform for information, networking and event organisation. While Flickr's merits may not be so generous, its use is still a sign of growing openness on the part of Arabian cyberspace.