FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Saudi Boys, Girls Use Technology to Flirt

One of the earliest cliches about the Internet was that it "sees censorship as damage and routes around it." Saudi youth have found that this observation applies to restrictive social mores as well, as they use mobile phones and Bluetooth messaging to interact with the opposite sex.

Saudi Arabia's Wahhabi flavor of Islam mandates strict separation of the sexes, and prevents unrelated men and women from interacting. However, Saudi youth equipped with Bluetooth mobile phones can send messages to one another discreetly, and can even exchange photos (some of which are risque even by Western standards).

Currently, Saudi officials concede that little can be done to prevent this type of interaction, beyond warning young people that technology can be abused. Indeed, the proliferation of high-tech flirting has yielded byproducts that are unwelcome in any culture -- namely harassment and the spread of mobile phone viruses.

Source: MSNBC, Boing Boing