Jordanian Bloggers Triumph Against TRC
Well, it seems the pressure from bloggers, journalists and various IT-activists has caused the Telecommunications Regulation Committee (TRC) to unblock Sykpe!
This has got to be one of the few cases of a governmental organization in Jordan reversing its decision due to civil pressures.
The Jordan Times published a story on October 13, 2006. Here it is:
Skype services back on track
By Ramsey Tesdell
AMMAN — The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission has decided to allow Skype services to resume a month after they were blocked.
Director of the commission’s regulatory department, Al Ansari Al Mashaqbah, confirmed yesterday that the recent decision to block Skype had been reversed.
The official told The Jordan Times that the security issues, cited as the reason for the block, had been resolved.
Skype is a software programme that allows users to make cheap phone calls over the Internet using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology, which has grown in popularity in recent years.
The commission had sent a fax to all Internet service providers in the Kingdom on September 13 to notifiy them of the decision to block the use of Skype.
Technical support representatives at Batelco and Wanado confirmed that they had received word from the commission ordering them to block the Skype website and that all Internet service providers in the country had been asked to abide by this new policy.
The fax said Skype had been blocked because of security reasons.
The popular software programme uses an encryption method that came under attack recently. Technical support representatives at Wanado said the reasons Skype was being targeted was because of possible terrorist activity, and the inability to monitor Skype conversations.
A similar instance in China’s Shenzhen Province saw Skype services blocked for a short time until it abided by local laws. China Telecom, which ordered it blocked, reversed its decision after security issues were resolved.
Meanwhile, Skype users in the country reacted to the order to block VoIP services with dismay.
David DeBartolo uses Skype to communicate with colleagues around the world while living in Amman. DeBartolo, a Fulbright researcher with the Binational Fulbright Commission, was one of the first to discover that Skype services had been suspended.
Upon contacting the commission, he received a response that Skype services had been blocked for security reasons.
“Justification that it was blocked for security reasons is unfounded and absolute nonsense,” said Omar Qawas, a professional in the IT business, who has been using Skype for two years to stay in contact with friends and colleagues around the world.
Qawas told The Jordan Times that Skype was “a reliable alternative to using regular phones or mobiles, and much more cost-effective.”