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Ethiopia Criminalizes VoIP Services 255

Posted by Soulskill
from the clamping-down-on-0s-and-1s dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Ethiopian government has passed legislation criminalizing the use of VoIP services like Skype and Google Talk. Anyone using these services within the country now faces up to 15 years in prison. 'Ethiopian authorities argue that they imposed these bans because of "national security concerns" and to protect the state's telecommunications monopoly. The country only has one ISP, the state-owned Ethio Telecom, and has been filtering its citizen's Internet access for quite some time now to suppress opposition blogs and other news outlets. ... Reporters Without Borders also reports that Ethio Telecom installed a system to block access to the Tor network, which allows users to surf the Web anonymously. The organization notes that the ISP must be using relatively sophisticated Deep Packet Inspection to filter out this traffic.'"
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Ethiopia Criminalizes VoIP Services

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  • Devolution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bananatree3 (872975) on Friday June 15, 2012 @11:04AM (#40335087)
    You're looking at it. Great Britain, USA, Ethiopia, China, Saudi Arabia... are there *any* countries where an internet connection can be had with complete freedom of access and no censorship?
  • Re:Devolution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gotung (571984) on Friday June 15, 2012 @11:08AM (#40335153)
    There was never a time or a place where what you describe existed.
  • WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 15, 2012 @11:17AM (#40335267)

    You're looking at it. Great Britain, USA, Ethiopia, China, Saudi Arabia... are there *any* countries where an internet connection can be had with complete freedom of access and no censorship?

    What the F are you yammering on about, you nob? It is completely common to have a completely free(from a libertarian perspective) and uncensored internet connection from a plethora of ISP in the United States and the United Kingdom. Genuine issues abound in many countries, including Ethiopia and the risk of the erosion of freedoms in many other places does exist. But, you hyperbolic patent falsifications erode people's willingness to take these matters seriously. In the long run, you are doing far more harm than good.

    Please feel free to STFU!

  • by Pieroxy (222434) on Friday June 15, 2012 @11:17AM (#40335273) Homepage

    They might prohibit certain services altogether to prevent spread of lewdness, but they won't spy on you.

    Wanna bet? If it suits their interest, they will. There is no doubt about it.

  • Re:Devolution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LordLimecat (1103839) on Friday June 15, 2012 @11:19AM (#40335321)

    Youre lumping vastly different situations into one bucket, throwing up your hands, and despairing.

    US, UK, etc have their own censorship and "entering the 21st century" issues, but lumping them together with Ethopia and China is a pretty big stretch.

    The fact that we have outlets like the Onion, Jon Stewart, and all the talking heads (Beck, OReilley, whoever else) which build their reputation on skewering powerful political figures shows you just how different we are.

    If youre asking if there are any countries where the internet is completely unrestrained and there is no enforcement of any laws whatsoever, no, there arent, and thats not a bad thing (ask any of the GPL folks). Likewise, if youre asking if there are any countries whose laws are perfect and are never abused, sorry, we dont have a utopia yet.

    It seems to me that the least helpful thing that can be done (other than pretending everything is peachy) is to act like everything is as bad as it could be and that things are hopeless. More helpful perhaps would be to discuss WHERE the US, UK, etc fail, but comparing them to Ethopia is ridiculous.

  • by Skapare (16644) on Friday June 15, 2012 @11:22AM (#40335377) Homepage

    What are they afraid of? They are the government. Oh wait ...

  • by ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) on Friday June 15, 2012 @11:27AM (#40335455)

    Exactly, just like a Christian government will provide for those who cannot provide for themselves a Muslim government would never spy on anyone.

  • Re:Devolution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Catbeller (118204) on Friday June 15, 2012 @11:30AM (#40335499) Homepage

    Bull. You are revising living memory. Of course it existed. It existed fifteen years ago, everywhere. The tech to listen in on all calls did not exist, nor was it legal. It was absolutely, constitutionally ILLEGAL to spy on citizens in the USA. We talked on the phone and messaged each other in the happy knowledge that it took a court order or Scientology operatives to obtain phone conversations or internet activity. Such things are possible today because our citizens are technologically and politcally illiterate and have absolutely no cultural memory past ALF reruns. The US is stupiding itself to death. OF COURSE WE HAD PRIVACY!! You gave it up!

  • but if you have a thought, and you put it on a wire that leads to a public network, you have just given up your right to privacy

    not legally, but logically

    even if the government was passionate about not snooping on the network in its borders, what of corporations? what of rogue government operatives? what of technically proficient and strangely motivated individuals?

    it's a NETWORK, not a closed box in your garage

    if you want something private, don't put it on a public network. once it gets out there, it is beyond your control. and you are the person who put it out there. so don't put it out there if it is important for you to keep private

    this has nothing to do with legality. it has to do with a common sense understanding of the nature of the subject matter you are dealing with: a wide open public network. there is no such thing as privacy on that

  • Re:Devolution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tharsman (1364603) on Friday June 15, 2012 @12:14PM (#40336015)

    Bull. You are revising living memory. Of course it existed. It existed fifteen years ago, everywhere. The tech to listen in on all calls did not exist, nor was it legal. It was absolutely, constitutionally ILLEGAL to spy on citizens in the USA. We talked on the phone and messaged each other in the happy knowledge that it took a court order or Scientology operatives to obtain phone conversations or internet activity. Such things are possible today because our citizens are technologically and politcally illiterate and have absolutely no cultural memory past ALF reruns. The US is stupiding itself to death. OF COURSE WE HAD PRIVACY!! You gave it up!

    There has been technology to wiretap calls for as long as there have been telephones. All you needed was access to the telephone company. Heck in the extreme early days, before phones were able to dial, a cop may simply sit by the operator and listen in.

    There was a middle ground where it took a bit more legwork to get the wiretapping done, but there was no point where it became impossible if desired.

    Yes, you “need” the court order, but that order can be granted in secret and is granted if no other ways to prove you are guilty of the investigated "serious" crime is available. If you are innocent, that usually means they will wiretap you because they wont find anything else to tie you up to the crime.

    Over the decades warrants have been given to investigate even people just vaguely related to the real target of an investigation, as they may shed light on the target himself.

    This is nothing new, and these computer monitoring is being implemented by many countries that simply don’t want to lose their ability to keep monitoring everything at will.

  • Re:Devolution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 15, 2012 @12:17PM (#40336045)

    It's in my dictionary:

    The process of declining from a higher level to a lower level of effective power or vitality or essential quality. Syn. degeneration.

    See this is why I come on here and post "nigger" and other racial jokes, troll about politics or operating systems, ask anybody who mentions an intelligent woman if that woman is fat, and just generally fuck around. It's the only way to have fun around here anymore.

    Do you know why? Do you know why that is?

    Because you motherfuckers will get into crazy-ass passionate fights over stupid shit like whether "devolution" is a word.

    For. Fuck's. Sake. You. Motherfuckers. You know exactly what the guy meant. He might not have said it just the way you like. Hell for that matter he might be wearing a tie that clashes with his shirt. SO FUCKING WHAT?!

    I know programming takesa this kind of precision and attention to detail. Now then, take a big big bite of your Ass Burger. Tastes good? Alright! Now I'm going to explain what your poor negligent daddy should have told you long ago, you anal-retentive Asspie fucks: you need to figure out that not EVERYTHING in life is exactly the same as programming. Specifically, when you form entire threads about the use of ONE WORD in a casual, informal discussion, you're Doing It Wrong(tm).

    I won't throw in the bullshit about Mama and her basement because it's old as hell and I'm not so smug as to think you can't get an apartment somewhere. As a gentleman, I will ask when the last time was that you had a beautiful woman in your arms who wanted to stay there a while. Perspective, man.

  • National Security (Score:4, Insightful)

    by alexo (9335) on Friday June 15, 2012 @12:59PM (#40336581) Journal

    Ethiopia, Schmethiopia...
    What do you do when *your* government treads all over *your* rights in the name of "national security"?

  • Re:WTF? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fa2k (881632) <pmbjornstad AT gmail DOT com> on Friday June 15, 2012 @01:40PM (#40337089)


    [fa2k@blackhole tmp]$ wget http://thepiratebay.org/ [thepiratebay.org]
    --2012-06-15 18:37:01-- http://thepiratebay.org/ [thepiratebay.org]
    Resolving thepiratebay.org... 194.71.107.50
    Connecting to thepiratebay.org|194.71.107.50|:80... connected.
    HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 403 Forbidden
    2012-06-15 18:37:01 ERROR 403: Forbidden.

    [fa2k@blackhole tmp]$ traceroute thepiratebay.org
    traceroute to thepiratebay.org (194.71.107.50), 30 hops max, 60 byte packets
      1 192.168.1.250 (192.168.1.250) 0.312 ms 0.403 ms 0.465 ms
      2 O2WirelessBox.lan (192.168.1.254) 106.684 ms 106.668 ms 106.560 ms
      3 * * *
      4 * * *
      5 * * *
      6 * * *
      7 10.1.1.98 (10.1.1.98) 27.569 ms 23.957 ms 24.665 ms
      8 10.1.1.101 (10.1.1.101) 26.545 ms 25.573 ms 27.624 ms
      9 10.1.1.141 (10.1.1.141) 26.972 ms 24.243 ms 26.153 ms
    10 10.1.2.114 (10.1.2.114) 26.168 ms 25.883 ms 24.447 ms
    11 259.ge-1-2-2.mpr1.lhr3.uk.above.net (213.152.232.65) 25.520 ms 25.485 ms 25.535 ms
    12 xe-4-0-0.mpr2.lhr3.uk.above.net (64.125.27.154) 26.041 ms 25.472 ms 25.535 ms
    13 above-gblx.lhr3.uk.above.net (64.125.12.154) 25.629 ms 24.365 ms 26.040 ms
    14 power-och-tandom-t-lane.tengigabitethernet1-3.ar1.arn3.gblx.net (208.48.1.246) 61.445 ms 64.784 ms 64.557 ms
    15 gi-1-6-nano-demarc.sto1.se.portlane.net (80.67.1.42) 60.103 ms 64.794 ms 61.531 ms
    16 194.68.0.202 (194.68.0.202) 67.593 ms 61.923 ms 62.026 ms
    17 sthix-ge-0-2.moria-cr-1.piratpartiet.net (192.121.80.181) 59.776 ms 59.833 ms 62.935 ms
    18 thepiratebay.piratpartiet.se (194.14.56.2) 63.485 ms 63.542 ms 60.908 ms
    19 * * *
    20 *^C

  • by Githaron (2462596) on Friday June 15, 2012 @02:20PM (#40337477)

    but if you have a thought, and you put it on a wire that leads to a public network, you have just given up your right to privacy

    not legally, but logically

    Do you not expect your (snail) mail to be private? Can your privacy be potentially compromised? Yes, but most still expect it to be private. If it is compromised, the trespasser, when found, is be held accountable. Any communication channel can be potentially compromised. The problem is that most nations don't hold their government accountable.

  • Re:Devolution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Catbeller (118204) on Friday June 15, 2012 @02:31PM (#40337643) Homepage

    That wasn't what I addressed. Of course they could tap phones, and they did - with court orders and with records of their taps. One at a time. At least they had to show an interest.

    But now they are listening to ALL OUR CALLS. ALL OF THEM. And when the NSA gets that data center in Utah online next year, they will record. every. single. call. All the web pages visits. No exceptions. No warrants. They will be able to run a timeline backwards on anyone or any group of associates to go a-huntin' crimes or anti-government activity. Forever.

    Address that, not the straw man. We lived in a world without 24/7 spying on every damned thing we do, and now we do, because 1) no cultural memory of a time when it wasn't so 2) kids raised with no civil liberty at school don't get why no liberties as an adult is bad and 3) the tech has changed and 4) the national security state has really metastasized and is spreading across the world as fast as we can sell the equipment.

Your computer account is overdrawn. Please see Big Brother.

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