Ethiopia bans Skype; 15 years of jail time possible

If you happen to use Skype in the country of Ethiopia, well ... don't. TechCrunch reports that a few weeks ago, the Ethiopian government passed a law that bans the use of Skype and any other VOIP service such as Google Talk in that part of the world. Not only that, but the story claims that the government could put people in jail for up to 15 years if they are caught using a VOIP service. There's no word as to how the government could enforce such a ban.

The ban was actually put in place on May 24th but is only now being reported on in the media. The story points out that Ethiopia's leaders already have set up some very high restrictions as far as Internet connections in that country. There's just one ISP in Ethiopia, Ethio Telecom, but it is fully under the state's control.

In addition, the government has also given itself the authority "to supervise and issue licenses to all privately owned companies that import equipment used for the communication of information." While the country has 84 million citizens, it is estimated by the Internet censorship watchdog OpenNet Initiative that just 700,000 of them have any kind of Internet access.

Source: TechCrunch

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It should serve as a warning to all of us smug "1st worlders" that our little world as we know could very easily devolve into something quite different and we're somewhat lucky. Freedom requires constant vigilance , which is why most of us are losing ours more everyday.

Sadly, for these people, it's the "leadership" that's tyrannical, and anything you do to punish them, will simply punish the people, unfortunately that's just the way it is....unless our shiny new drones and now legal murder orders get put to use...

What a stupid ass country.

I just can't understand leaders of such countrys which are clearly mildly retarded which passes laws like this. I mean, the way that they look for the rest of the world is not a positive thing. Mirror mirror, who's the stupidest of them all? Oh damn...

Daniel_Pooh said,
Still a better country to live in than the United States.

US also bans services that does not provide encryption information to special forces.

coth said,

US also bans services that does not provide encryption information to special forces.

What about programs like Retroshare? It's impossible to monitor networks based on it.

At least Ethiopia is open about the way it controls and manipulates information. Anybody who thinks corporations, politicians and governments in western countries aren't going the same is deluding themselves.

MDboyz said,
Maybe they want to be like N. Korea. It's easy to control dumb people.

If I follow your logic, it would be pretty easy to control you then.

mr1nv1s1ble said,

If I follow your logic, it would be pretty easy to control you then.

By getting personal you lose straight away.

This was probably the same time they started blocking Tor. In other words, it seems like Ethiopia doesn't want you using encrypted services.

The same Ethiopia that we raised all that money for in the 80s with concerts and singles? The same one where we saw kids with flies all over them wearing rags?

nik louch said,
The same Ethiopia that we raised all that money for in the 80s with concerts and singles? The same one where we saw kids with flies all over them wearing rags?

it looks just the same now but the downside that more people survived and now more people need handouts.

DrakeN2k said,

it looks just the same now but the downside that more people survived and now more people need handouts.


And this is how they treat their people?

xpablo said,
Who cares? Like really this is going to ruin my day that Ethiopians can't use Skype. Damn!

People like you shouldn't have the right to express themselves.

xpablo said,
Who cares? Like really this is going to ruin my day that Ethiopians can't use Skype. Damn!

Someone is about to blow your face off with a shotgun and I'm the only one that can stop them.

Too bad for you I can't be bothered.

Didn't you get the memo? Using the word democratic automatically nullifies any accusations of authoritarian or oppressive rule. Just look at the Democratic Republic of the Congo - another fine, upstanding member of the international community.

Nexx295 said,
That amazing moment when you realize that Ethiopia is officially called Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia...
countries with democratic in their name are rarely so!

Nexx295 said,
That amazing moment when you realize that Ethiopia is officially called Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia...

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea... aka North Korea...

thommcg said,
Guess they've no real problems so...

Banning Skype is far easier than figuring out how to feed people, so they take the easy option.

That assumes they have food. These days, Ethiopia has more food than North Korea, and that's saying something. I just had no idea Ethiopia had become so restrictive.

veedub83 said,
No food or internet? Damn. 0.o

Sally Struthers to the rescue, with chewing sticks and Qualcomm WolfPigeon networks!