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Ethiopia Criminalizes VoIP Services 255

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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  • by mapkinase ( 958129 ) on Friday June 15, 2012 @11:14AM (#40335205) Homepage Journal

    Now who will complain about evil carriers in US after you will get a perspective of what they do in Ethiopia? :-)

    Jokes aside, Islam (Ethiopia has 3 times more Muslims than in 100% Muslim Somalia) prohibits prying and spying on civilians, so any snooping, any PATRIOT act, any FISA laws would be impossible under Islamic government.

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

    A man peeped through a hole in the door of Allah's Apostle's house , and at that time, Allah's Apostle had a Midri (an iron comb or bar) with which he was rubbing his head. So when Allah's Apostle saw him, he said (to him), "If I had been sure that you were looking at me (through the door), I would have poked your eye with this (sharp iron bar)." Allah's Apostle added, "The asking for permission to enter has been enjoined so that one may not look unlawfully (at what there is in the house without the permission of its people)."

  • Waste of money (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Friday June 15, 2012 @11:22AM (#40335379)

    Imagine the number of starving people they could feed, or development projects they could fund, with the money they channel into running computers to control the citizenry...

  • Re:Devolution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Krneki ( 1192201 ) on Friday June 15, 2012 @11:33AM (#40335531)

    Albeit we had 2 censorship incident done via DNS blocking.

    They didn't last very long, were unconstitutional and easily circumvented by replacing the DNS server address and no one was ever persecuted by circumventing the protection.

    To this date, not a single charge or court order has been issued for private usage of the internet for whatever reason. The only incidents were regarding "hate speech" and rightfully so.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Friday June 15, 2012 @11:39AM (#40335593) Journal
    Well, Sandvine is the big name in DPI tech, though there are others. Googling 'Lawful Intercept capability' brings up a fair list of vendors, pretty much everybody who sells networking gear, along with a few specialists.

    Empirically speaking, there would appear to be a lot of competent techies who are either actively authoritarian or very good at the yuppie Nuremberg defense; because this stuff doesn't build itself, and it doesn't get built by throwing jackbooted morons at the problem...
  • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by flyingsquid ( 813711 ) on Friday June 15, 2012 @12:20PM (#40336083)

    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!

    Seconded. There are real issues, but saying "OMG teh USA is just like China!" is really not helpful. The situation is a lot more complex than that. The United States has actually done a pretty amazing job promoting free speech on some fronts- the U.S. government invented the internet after all, and private U.S. companies such as Google, Twitter, and Facebook have provided the means for people to engage in free speech. The article mentions Ethiopia trying to block Tor... well, the Tor anonymity network was actually developed by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory.

    At the same time, you have to ask where all of the technology to censor the internet is coming from in the first place. China doesn't really need any help, but for countries like Syria, Iran, and Ethiopia to monitor the internet, they need outside help. The answer is that this help comes from the west- there are companies in Silicon Valley and in Europe that are willing to sell the equipment and software needed to hack into, store, and analyze the communications of their citizens. They make a profit, and they don't ask too many questions about whether this technology might lead to the arrest and torture of dissidents.

    The article mentions that Ethiopia is using Deep Packet Inspection to filter out the internet and block Tor. The question becomes, who's providing them with this technology? If we want to make a difference that's how we could do it- figure out where this technology is coming from and then apply pressure to the company selling this technology. If the companies selling this technology are held up to public scrutiny and faced with the prospect of boycotts and negative press, a lot of them will back off.

  • Re:Devolution (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gmanterry ( 1141623 ) on Friday June 15, 2012 @05:42PM (#40339743) Journal

    Actually, it's English everywhere.

    Wrong! I was in the Peace Corps in the Ivory Coast West Africa where I taught at the University of Abidjan. My English friend Donard, taught English. I taught American. They considered them to be two separate and distinct languages.

Reactor error - core dumped!