February 6, 2023

Bangladesh Government Blocks Access to Viber and Tango, Citing Security Reasons (Update: LINE, WhatsApp too)

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If you live in Bangladesh, you’ve likely been unable to make and receive calls on popular calling and messaging services Viber and Tango starting yesterday. We started receiving reports that the two services were blocked yesterday afternoon as many users tried unsuccessfully to utilize the services to communicate with friends and family.

The news has been making the rounds online since the blockage began, and while past blocks such as this have been for financial reasons, the Bangladesh government has reportedly blocked popular online voice and message services Viber and Tango due to security concerns, including “proof” that bomb and arson attacks were “being carried out with directives issued by the BNP high-command using Viber and Tango.”

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“We have information that those who had been issuing directives through mobile phones to carry out subversive activities had stopped using their phones and were using Viber and Tango instead,” the policeman said, adding, “We have had proofs of such instructions for carrying out subversive activities in the last two to three days.”

Though the blocking was cited as “temporary,” it could also be a semi-permanent move.

This is just the latest move by governments to limit the reach of communications tools used by its citizens. British Prime Minister David Cameron is also reportedly seeking to ban Snapchat, WhatsApp, and BBM in order to curb terrorists and one needs only do a simple search to see how many times in the past blocks such as this have occurred for various reasons as messaging apps have grown in popularity.

Update: WhatsApp and LINE are also now banned