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Saudi Arabia plans to ban WhatsApp & Skype

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In the era of 21st century technology has become an indispensable tool which has brought people together. The world is becoming a smaller place with the use of applications such as WhatsApp and Skype. These are the two core competent applications that enable people to connect with one another worldwide.

With about 10 billion messages being handled by WhatsApp and Skype, having more than 663 million registered user base, the two play important role in connecting businesses and people from different corners of the world. But Saudi Arabia is planning to ban these two applications in their country.

In a few weeks, Saudi Arabia’s global internet censorship body plans to ban and block the two apps if the U.S.-based firm fails to comply with requirements set by the kingdom’s telecom regulator, as reported by the local newspapers this week.

The CITC (Communication and Information Technology Commission), the Saudi Communications authority banned Viber, another app on the same page as of WhatsApp and Skype. According to the CITC statistics, Mobile penetration was 188 % by the end of 2012. Also, Saudi Arabia now has 15.8 million Internet subscribers and the average user watches three times as many online videos per day as counterparts in the United States, according to YouTube.

Abdullah Al-Darrab, Governor of CITC, recently said, “We have been communicating with WhatsApp and other similar communication platforms to get them to cooperate and comply with the Saudi telecom providers, however nothing has come of this communication yet”.

Also, Saudi Arabia’s three main operators namely, Saudi Telecom Co, Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) and Zain Saudi had been asked to inform CITC, whether they are able to monitor or block such Internet-based applications. The telecom operators in Saudi Arabia host around nine million expatriates. The regulator issued a directive in March saying tools such as Viber, WhatsApp and Skype broke local laws, without much specification.

The analysts say that the use of such applications to communicate with relatives residing in other countries is rapidly increasing among the foreign workers. And such tools are necessary for the common people that enable them to keep in touch with their dear ones.

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