Bad news if you’re in Saudi Arabia, as the Saudi Arabian government has threatened to ban the use of instant messaging applications such as Skype or Viber reportedly due to the failure of telecommunication companies to monitor and censor the applications.
While it might seem to some that commercial and monetary motivations could be involved in the threatened banning of these apps — especially due to the recent growth in popularity of these apps as opposed to carrier provided services — sources denied that such was the case, citing “regulatory procedures” as the cause.
“The Communications and Information Technology Commission has requested companies operating the applications to meet the regulatory requirements to avoid their suspension in the kingdom,” sources said. “The commission is now coordinating with the application operators on the issue.”
Companies were given a deadline of one week with which to come up with an appropriate solution to keep their apps from being struck with the ban hammer. Twitter had already started being censored in the region starting last month, while sending messages via BlackBerry devices was banned in the country back in 2010 due to the fact that BB messages were encrypted and therefore could not be monitored.
It’s not clear what these app providers have planned as of yet, and as of this writing, Viber, Skype, and WhatsApp have yet to respond to our inquiries.