Oppressive governments love to ban anything that can connect people and move information. The latest case of this is new legislation passed in Ethiopia that could imprison an individual for up to 15 years for making a 30-second call over Skype or Google Talk.
The legislation has made it illegal to use any Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services from within the country itself, according to Al Jazeera. The new law also enables the state-owned Ethio Teleco to prohibit the use of video chatting, social media, email and any other data transfer service capable of communicating information.
They say that the legislation is necessary for the country’s national security and will close a loophole that was allowing some citizens to communicate without being monitored by authorities. And that is always the point with laws like this. They want to make sure that their people are being watched closely. It’s a sad situation, but hopefully they can get some of their freedom back at some point. Think about this the next time you take Skype for granted.
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