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Skype ban angers Lebanese
Moves to make popular internet calling tool illegal spark uproar.
June 16, 2010 3:32 by Samuel Potter
People in Lebanon have reacted angrily to plans to ban Skype and othe Internet voice communications systems, reports the National.
The Lebanese parliament is expected to vote some time in this week on legislation that will make voice-over internet protocol (VoIP) phone systems illegal, says the report. The move is set to anger many in the country; there are a high number of expats in the country, not to mention nationals who have families overseas. In addition, Lebanon has some of the highest mobile phone charges in the world.
The report says that for the business community, and those trying to communicate with the millions of Lebanese living in foreign countries, the ban will wipe out an essential form of communication.
Sophisticated VoIP boxes that allowed users to connect actual mobile phones started going dead on June 1 after the telecommunications ministry began blocking some services under orders from the newly appointed telecoms minister Charbel Nahhas, says the National.
“But it was not until this week that people realised there was a campaign under way against Skype itself. Now Mr Nahhas faces criticism from all corners of a Lebanese society, including his own political party, the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), which has begun posting photos of the minister emblazoned with the slogan ‘Together towards the Stone Age’ under his visage on FPM bulletin boards.”