Saudi Arabia warns Internet messaging applications to follow local regulations

Newspaper reports had earlier said that the kingdom had threatened to block Skype and some other applications

Saudi Arabia has threatened action against Internet-based communications applications if they do not meet local rules, suggesting that the kingdom is ready for a showdown with some of these providers over local monitoring of their services.

Local media had earlier reported that the kingdom had asked local telecommunications operators to ensure that messaging applications such as Skype and WhatsApp could be monitored for security reasons. If the services failed to comply, Saudi Arabia would block them, according to the reports.

Saudi Arabia's telecom regulator, Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC), said in a statement on Sunday that some IP applications did not meet its requirements and regulations, but did not give details of which regulations were broken by these services. CITC said it had asked operators to ensure that the services comply with local rules.

The kingdom threatened appropriate action against those services that did not meet the regulations, but again did not provide details of the action being considered.

CITC could not be immediately reached for further information.

Its statement, however, referred to news reports that the country would block Skype and others but did not provide additional information on plans for these specific services.

The current dispute may be similar to one Saudi Arabia had in 2010 with Research In Motion, now renamed as BlackBerry, over access to communications on some BlackBerry services. BlackBerry data services were allowed to continue in Saudi Arabia in a deal in which the company reportedly agreed to monitoring of email and instant messaging data services, and also set up some communications servers in the kingdom.

Reporters Without Borders described Saudi Arabia as "intolerant of criticism" in a report in March last year. It complained about harsh censorship, filtering, widespread online surveillance and the use of repressive legislation in the kingdom.

About 16 million people, which make up 54 percent of the kingdom's population, had Internet access at the end of 2012, according to CITC. About 12 million people used mobile broadband, it added. The commission is expecting an upswing in Internet demand as the country rolls out high-speed fiber-optic cables starting with the cities.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Internet-based applications and servicesregulationCommunications and Information Technology Commissiongovernmentinternet

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?