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Saudi Arabia To Revoke Ban On Skype and WhatsApp Calls

Saudi arabia to remove ban on telecommunication like skype and whatsapp calls, but will keep monitoring it

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Saudi Arabia
source: Pixabay

Saudi Arabia, September 22, 2017: Saudi Arabian government as part of economic reforms is to lift the ban on calls through networking apps Skype and WhatsApp, but will keep an eye on all the calls as stated by the government spokesperson.

The government in order to transform its economy that aids in enlargement of the business and broaden the economy to the low price of oil plans to provide access to other video and audio call services including Facebook messenger and Viber that fulfills the necessities of the regulation of the authorities.

The spokesperson of telecoms regulator of Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC), Adel Abu Hameed through, Arabiya TV said the idea behind imposing the regulation is to keep away the content that violated the laws of the region and also to keep intact the personal information of the user.

He also added that the apps, both local and global cannot be used in any way without being censored by CITC or monitoring.

The government although have not made it clear as to how they are going to undertake this regulation on end-to-end encryption apps like WhatsApp which do not allow anyone to read the customers’ messages event after the enforcement of the law.

Saudi Arabia banned the widely used services for internet communication from 2013 onwards stating them to be used by the activists against for the norms of the government. The government still keep a check on the restricted content such as gambling sites, pornography, and extremist material.

At the end of May 2017, Saudi Arabia blocked the access to the website of Al Jazeera after the country put an end to all the Qatar links over supporting terrorism and having ties with Iran.

ALSO READSaudi communication and IT authority blocked 68 Percent of 900,000 violated Internet Links in 2016.

However, it is believed that reversing the Saudi Arabian ban can adversely affect the three main telecom operators – Saudi Telecom Co (STC), Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) and Zain Saudi of Saudi Arabia, which has been generating major revenue from international calls.

The Gulf Arab neighbours have also raised concerned about the security in the usage of internet communications.

Censorship over internet increased in Saudi Arabia after ‘Arab Spring’ uprising in 2011.The authorities also claim that they have been using the IP addresses to block around 400,000 websites that could harm the public interest.

– prepared by Abhishek Biswas of NewsGram Twitter: @Writing_desire

 

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WhatsApp Announces 5-chat Message Forwarding Limit Globally

Based out of WhatsApp's headquarters in Menlo Park, California, Lahiri can be contacted via email and general post

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"WhatsApp Business" was launched last week in Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Britain and the US. Pixabay

Aiming to curb fake news, Facebook-owned platform WhatsApp on Monday announced it has globally lowered to five the forward limit for chats — a feature first launched in India last July.

“Starting today, WhatsApp will be implementing this change, globally i.e. all users on the latest versions of WhatsApp can now forward to only five chats at once,” the Facebook-owned platform said in a blog post.

Earlier, the company allowed users globally to forward messages for up to 20 chats (either individuals or groups).

“The new change will continue to help keep WhatsApp focused on private messaging with close contacts,” it added.

With the Indian government talking tough on WhatsApp’s failure to check the spread of fake and provocative content on its platorm, the instant messaging service last year rolled out its forward message limit to five chats for over 200 million users in the country.

In one of its notices, the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) said WhatsApp has been requested to come out with more effective solutions that can bring in accountability and facilitate enforcement of law in addition to their efforts towards labelling forwards and identifying fake news.

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WhatsApp on a smartphone device. Pixabay

The IT Ministry had also asked WhatsApp to ensure that the platform is not used for malafide activities over the growing instances of lynching of innocent people owing to large number of irresponsible messages filled with rumours.

In August, Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told the visiting WhatsApp CEO Chris Daniels to comply with the Indian laws and take “suitable” steps to prevent misuse of the instant messaging platform in the country.

Daniels’ meeting with the IT Minister came against the backdrop of several incidents of mob lynching being linked to the circulation of fake messages and misinformation on the instant messaging platform.

Also Read- Social Media Giants Facebook, Twitter Face Action From Russia Over Legal Violations

After being pulled up by the Supreme Court for not appointing a Grievance Officer and complying with other laws of India, WhatsApp in September appointed Komal Lahiri as the Grievance Officer for the country.

Based out of WhatsApp’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California, Lahiri can be contacted via email and general post. (IANS)