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UPDATE 2-Saudi lifting ban on Skype, WhatsApp calls, but will monitor them

UPDATE 2-Saudi lifting ban on Skype, WhatsApp calls, but will monitor them
From Reuters - September 21, 2017

RIYADH (Reuters) - The Saudi government is lifting a ban on calls made through online apps on Thursday but will monitor and censor them, a government spokesman said.

All online voice and video call services - such as Microsofts Skype, Facebooks WhatsApp and Messenger, and Rakutens Viber - that satisfy regulatory requirements were set to become accessible overnight.

However, on Thursday morning, Viber appeared to remain blocked inside the kingdom, and WhatsApp worked only when connected to a wireless network.

Adel Abu Hameed, spokesman for telecoms regulator CITC, said on Arabiya TV on Wednesday that new regulations were aimed mainly at protecting users personal information and blocking content that violated the kingdoms laws.

Asked if the apps could be monitored by the authorities or companies, he said: Under no circumstances can the user use an application for video or voice calling without monitoring and censorship by the Communications and Information Technology Commission, whether the application is global or local.

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