The Ethiopian government has made it a criminally offence to use VoIP services like Skype or Google Talk in their country, punishable by as much as 15 years in prison.
The bans also extend to social networking features that make video or audio chat over the web possible.
The law was passed last month, but has only just been brought to the attention of the international community.
Ethiopian government officials that the bans have been brought about by “national security concerns”. However, dig a little deeper and the true motive quickly becomes apparent; Ethiopia is served by a single, state-owned telecommunications carrier. Banning VoIP services (many of which offer free web-calling) helps the Ethiopian government protect their monopoly over communication services.
The Ethiopian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology also gained “the power to supervise and issue licenses to all privately owned companies that import equipment used for communication and information.”
The governemnt is also said to be blocking access to the Tor network, an independent ISP which allows people to surf the web anonymously.
Via: Tech Crunch
By Gerald Lynch | June 15th, 2012