Microsoft’s Skype tool is in hot water over in Saudi Arabia, this time it has to do with failing to comply with regulatory requirements. Skype, along with Whatsapp, apparently do not comply with the country’s telecom laws and developers are being urged strongly to fix it right away or face potential blocking of the service.
“It has become evident that some communication applications through (the) Internet don’t meet regulatory requirements,” Saudi Arabia’s Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) stated in an official statement. “The authority has informed licensed (telecom) providers of the need to work with the developers of these applications to quickly meet these requirements.”
Skype is Microsoft’s VoIP provider while Whatsapp is a popular internet-based instant messaging service. The CITC made no mention of exactly what was in violation with the two apps, and didn’t even provide a timeframe of how long the developers had to place the apps in compliance. The punishment isn’t even clear, but one can imagine a potential blocking of the services.
The reason behind all this? The CITC said it was acting to “protect society from any negative aspects that could harm the public interest”. It is obvious that the region is attempting to gain stronger control over the internet, thanks to the increase in internet and smartphone usage.
To give you an idea, Saudi Arabia has over 15.8 million internet subscribers and the average user watches three times as many online videos per day as counterparts in the United States, according to stats from YouTube.