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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