A 30-second call on Skype could now land Ethiopians a 15-year jail term.
In new legislation the country has criminalised all Voice Over IP (VoIP) communication over Skype or Google Voice from within the country according to Al Jazeera.
The idea was to make sure the government could monitor communication. In essence what they are now able to keep an eye on who people are talking to. The only telecommunications infrastructure in the country is operated by the state-controlled Ethio Teleco.
The new legislation empowers the state-owned telecom to prohibit the use not only of VoIP services, but also of video chatting, social media, e-mail, and any other data transfer service capable of communicating information. Essentially that means they prohibit everything except talking aloud or thinking in your mind. We suppose those who have voices in their head will get away with it.
The law also gives the government the right to inspect any imported voice communication equipment as well as the power to ban any inbound packages that don’t have prior permission from the state.
Anyone caught using illegal phone services will get 15 years and heavy fines. Anyone caught making calls over the Internet will get 3 to 8 years and heavy fines too.
The new regulations are said to be put in place to counter security threats.
What we find silly is that the international Western mainstream media has pretty much ignored this. If such drastic measures were imposed in Zimbabwe we would be called all sorts of names and there would be the upping of the ante on how horrible we are, how we do not care about rights to communication and the works.
Some are more equal than others we suppose…