The Truth About The Ethiopian Ban On Skype
Skype has changed the way people communicate over long distances. There is no way of expressing the joy of seeing a loved one’s face as you speak to them. However, in Ethiopia, the government there believes VoIP forms of communication are a security risk. They are, thus, proposing a law that would make it illegal to use services such as Skype.
The proposed law states that anyone who makes a call or sends a fax from email via the internet faces a jail term of up to 8 years. This law seems very overwhelming in terms of seeming unreasonable. However, there are a few things one needs to tae into consideration.
First of all, only 0.7% of the Ethiopian population has access to the internet. And of those, the majority are Facebook users. Very few VoIP forms of communication are used by the internet users.
A similar law was passed in 2002 in which it was blatantly stated that no voice communication was to be conducted via the internet. it is important to note that no individuals were punished or arrested since that law was implemented. It is not to say that no one violated the law, but it is very difficult for the government to see who is making voice calls over the internet.
Most packet data information cannot distinguish between sending an e-mail and making a call via Skype. This makes it very difficult for the government to look into each individual’s internet usage in order to catch and punish violators. This is why this proposed new law may not be as much of a threat as one might think.
If the government was to closely monitor internet usage and look out for violators of the proposed laws, it would cost them a lot of money. This is another reason why people will be highly unlikely to be sent to jail under this proposed new legislation.