It seems like we’re hearing about messsaging apps being banned almost every month. In August Vietnam was considering banning a number of messaging and calling apps and back in June Viber was banned in Saudi Arabia.
The Pakistani province of Sindh is now being added to the list of those who have banned (or are considering banning) the use of VoIP and instant messaging apps in the province. In Sindh’s case, the province is banning some apps for a period of three months, specifically Skype and Viber.
Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon confirmed the decision in a press briefing. The provincial government has also tapped the federal government to request “access,” which could very well be one of the reasons Viber in particular was banned; Viber is well known for maintaining user privacy and does not provide access to user information without “following proper subpoena” according to CEO Talmon Marco on Twitter. This does further explain why Viber is currently the only application banned by Saudi Arabia.
Hopefully this latest ban will only be temporary, as the vast majority of users in the country use these apps for proper reasons and should not be punished for the misdeeds of a minority. Only time will tell.