According to news reports, Saudi Arabia is going to ban Smartphone service WhatsApp, video messaging service Skype, Viber etc and several other instant messaging services.
The reason behind blocking these services has not been confirmed yet. However, it is being related to the ban imposed on BlackBerry phones in 2010 when the authorities said that it was getting rather difficult for them to keep a tab on terrorist activities. The BlackBerry messages were encrypted and couldn’t be tracked easily.
The country’s Computer and Information Technology Commission (CITC) may block all conversation and visual communication because they use encrypted connections as well. News reports cite that this issue has been a top priority for discussion among CITC and telecom company owners. The CITC demands that it should be allowed to monitor the encrypted applications and if it is not possible then it is entitled to block all such services.
The banning of mentioned services is likely to be eyed suspiciously since the excuse of terrorism may not be valid this time around. Saudi Arabia is already notorious worldwide for its innumerable unreasonable bans and this might just add to the list.
WhatsApp and Skype are among one of the most popular and useful messaging services which have somewhat become a very important part of everyday communication in offices, businesses etc. People also see it as an invasion of their privacy if the government demands information of users’ data. Initial reaction to the proposition of the ban has been negative and people are expressing their annoyance and anger since they use messaging services not only for official purposes but also to contact their friends and family for free.