Skype, WhatsApp face ban in Saudi Arabia – report

Government demands access to tools that would enable it to monitor communications via platforms

Skype, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services

Skype, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services

Online communications platforms Skype and WhatsApp face being banned in Saudi Arabia if the Gulf kingdom’s government is not provided with services to monitor the technologies, according to a report in Arab News.

According to the English language newspaper, the country’s Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) has threatened to block both applications, which both have millions of users around the world, as they use encrypted connections.

Skype, which is owned by Microsoft, allows users to communicate over video link, while WhatsApp is a free instant messaging service for smartphones such as Apple’s iPhone and BlackBerry.

Saudi Arabia banned the use of BlackBerry services in the kingdom in 2010 in similar circumstances, with the government claiming that the technology’s strong encryption meant hinder its efforts in fighting terrorism and criminal activity.

Arab News said that Skype and WhatsApp had until the end of this week to provide the CITC with the means to monitor communications via the platforms.

In neighbouring UAE, most Skype services are already prohibited by the country’s telecommunications regulator, in a policy that is widely seen as protecting the commercial interests of state-owned operators.

Representatives from Skype and WhatsApp could not be contacted for comments on the report at the time of publication.

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Posted by: Nezaud

Saudi Arabia never banned BB service in Y2010. The local authorities threaten RIM the owner of BB to do so if the servers are not relocated in Saudi Arabia. They have reached an agreement, and the service is just fine.

Posted by: Sajid

In saudi arabia never had banned these things how these news is posted we are using Skype and Whatapps from long and still using it.

Posted by: Raza

Expats don't have right to criticize the decision made by authorities to secure their state. Remember that you are not living in any European country, UK or USA where you might have nationality and right to vote, so you can speak anything. These countries have a policy statement "respect our laws or leave our land".......simple is that..!

Posted by: Quantum Physics - An Expat

100% agree.. Evry house has their rules and norms, we should not enter any house acting and thinking we own the place... in any way, we are just mere visitors..

Posted by: procan

Be careful what you wish for Raza you would subject much of your fellow countrymen to death by starvation, you currently survive by western charity. You also realised you are not one of the most loved .If not for your excellent Military leadership you could not administer your country at all. But who nows perhaps you could make new friends North Korea, Venezuela ,Syria .

Posted by: KSAKID

that's too much. i do believe that it's not by the means of security and terroristic act. it is because they think that they are losing money because of these almost free apps for video call and free sms/mms. but look, people are paying for internet connections and 3G services that the telecommunications commission of the kingdom gives to its people so i think they are being absurd in that.

Posted by: jim

simple download a VPN and bypass this freedom of speech it is wrong that expats cant talk to thier families because of this most people will use other methods but this is all we have
it the same in all the GCC at the min get rid of expats make thier lives difficult and a tough luck attitude by governments
shame on you all

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