Saudi Arabia eyes ban on Skype, WhatsApp, Viber

Back in 2010 the government in Saudi Arabia threatened to institute a ban against BlackBerry services for not complying with rules in the country have new do with the ability to monitor communications. BlackBerry was forced to work very hard to avoid being banned within Saudi Arabia. Officials in Saudi Arabia are now threatening to ban some major VoIP applications.

The reason the new ban is being considered has to do with the Skype, WhatsApp, and Viber VoIP applications not complying with rules within Saudi Arabia that allow for the monitoring of phone calls. Strangely, while the Saudi Arabia and Communications and Information Technology Commission has said that it will take "appropriate action regarding these applications" it hasn't said specifically which conditions the applications are failing to meet. Reports have indicated that the problem the Saudi Arabia government has is that it's unable to monitor communications made using those apps.

CNN reported that the threats likely stem from the fact that last week political protests were organized using WhatsApp. This sort of political demonstration is against the law in Saudi Arabia. When the government in Saudi Arabia took offense to communications made using the BlackBerry network, the problem was that the encryption used prevented the government from monitoring the communications channel.

The Saudi Arabian government said that the inability to monitor the channel meant that it could be used to threaten national security. At this time, all three of the apps in question remain available according to reports from within Saudi Arabia.

[via CNET]