Saudi Arabia Could ban internet based communication tool Whats App with in weeks if the U.S based company fails to meet the the requirements set by the kingdom’s telecom regulator. Whats App services would be blocked before the holy month of Ramadan which is expected to start on July 9.
This month the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) banned Viber, another such tool, which like Whats App is hard for the state to monitor and deprives telecom companies of revenue from international calls and texts.
“We have been communicating with Whats App and other similar communication platforms to get them to cooperate and comply with the Saudi telecom providers, however nothing has come of this communication yet,” said Abdullah Al-Darrab, governor of the CITC. “We gave them a week to comply and have been communicating with them since March to no avail. Therefore, this has left us with no choice but to block these services, beginning with Viber.”
One of the Saudi government regulations stipulate that a local server be put in place, which allows the government and the security agencies to monitor all activity on the network. In effect, snoop in on any user’s conversations whenever they so desire.
Al-Dabban added that Viber was blocked last week for its noncompliance, while WhatsApp and Skype are next on the list, warning: “We will take punitive action against these applications and services if they do not comply with the regulations.”