2010-03-15

Egypt: Governmental Decision to Block Skype using USB Modem


Looks like the Egyptian Government attempts to control the cyberspace and netizens is moving forward. Although, Egypt didn’t witness many attempts to block website and programs related to online connection, but the government follow different ways to keep eye on what’s happening online, beside harassing bloggers and netizens.

From two days, citizens in Egypt using USB Modem to connect to the internet weren’t able to use Skype, a software application that allows users to make voice calls over the Internet. At the beginning they thought there is a kind of internet connection issue, and when they started calling the mobile telecommunication companies they knew that Skype is no more allowed to be used using USB Modem.

Today I called the customer service section at Vodafone company, and I was informed there is a decision issued from two days by the National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (NTRA) to block Skype from being used via USB Modem, based on complaints by the three mobile telecommunication companies in Egypt, for facing financial loss because citizens are making phone calls online with low price.
The decision might look to be based on economical reasons, but for me the three mobile telecommunication companies in Egypt had enough time to block websites and programs before announcing their USB Modem devices. Moreover, the companies didn’t officially inform their clients or clarify the decision.

I am really concerned about this weird decision and hope it won’t be a new phase for the government to block websites or programs through the NTRA for “financial reasons”! [Post Available in Arabic]

"The ban is on Skype on mobile internet, not on fixed, and this is due to the fact it is against the law since it bypasses the legal gateway," said Amr Badawy, the executive president of the NTRA to Reuters on Tuesday 16 March.

Update 23 March- Skype questions Egypt ban on mobile Internet calls, Reuters

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