saudi orders telcos to ensure skype whatsapp meet local laws

RIYADH |
Sun Spoil 31, 2013 9:31am EDT

RIYADH (Reuters) – Some Internet-based communication tools such as Skype and Whatsapp flout Saudi Arabia’s telecom laws, the regulator said on Sunday, instructing telecom operators to quickly arrange these services comply.

The announcement from the commonwealth’s Communications and Advice Technology Commission (CITC) follows local newspaper reports last week that claimed the government had asked telecom companies to attending at ways to detector or block these services.

“It has alter to evident that some communication applications buttoned up (the) Internet don’t accommodated regulatory requirements,” CITC said in a statement on its website.

“The authority has informed licensed (telecom) providers of the charge to assignment with the developers of these applications to quickly accommodated these requirements.”

The statement listed Articulation over IP (VoIP) providers Skype and Viber as able-bodied as Internet-based instant messaging service Whatsapp.

But it did not state what laws these applications had flouted, how continued they would be accustomed to comply with the regulations or what action would be taken if they failed to heed the instruction.

The CITC said it was acting to “protect society from any abrogating aspects that could harm the public absorption”.

Saudi’s three moving operators – Saudi Telecom Co, Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) and Zain Saudi – were not immediately available for comment.

The commonwealth appears to manufacture a greater push for greater ascendancy over cyberspace as Internet and acute phone usage soars, in allotment due to strict laws that limit opportunities for bodies to blend.

Moving penetration was 188 percent by the borderline of 2012, CITC data shows. Saudi any more has 15.8 million Internet subscribers and the average user watches three times as abounding online videos per day as counterparts in the United States, according to YouTube.

On Saturday, the English-speech Arab Statement daily said Saudi Arabia may ace shot to borderline anonymity for Twitter users in the country by limiting access to the site to bodies who register their identification documents, although it was unclear how such restrictions could be enforced.

Telecom operators can block content and access to particular sites, but this becomes added ambitious if a user already has the application installed on a device.

For archetype, Skype and other foreign-based VoIP providers are widely used in the neighboring United Arab Emirates, despite an authorized ban, with residents downloading the software via virtual private networks or while abroad. Once installed, these can be used inside the UAE.

(Reporting by Marwa Rashad and Reem Shamseddine; Writing by Matt Smith; Editing by Catherine Evans)

Saudi orders telcos to arrange Skype, Whatsapp accommodated local laws
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Originall posted April 1, 2013