Bahrain mulls clamp on Internet calls
Manama, June 26, 2013
Bahrain is considering introducing controls on calls made via the Internet, including those on Skype and Viber, said a top official.
Minister of State for Communications Affairs Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa confirmed the procedures aimed to prevent breaches of the country's "moral values and traditions", said a report in the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
The Communications Ministry is conducting a study to examine ways it can manage Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology, he added.
He said introducing controls would help enhance security in line with GCC-wide efforts to preserve the rights of service providers to prevent misuse of Internet and communications applications.
Bahrain believes introducing controls would also ensure the protection of data and boost the security of international calls.
But news of the plan caused shockwaves on Bahrain's social media websites yesterday with many people fearful that it could lead to their private conversations being monitored.
Shaikh Fawaz said the ministry intended to develop Bahrain's communications sector and the study was being conducted to set up the appropriate legislation.
A recent study found around 100,000 VoIP calls were made within four days.
It also indicated 50 applications can be used via the sector, with Skype the most popular VoIP used at home and Viber via mobile phones.
International calls reportedly consume most of the VoIP time and people stay on the line for longer. – TradeArabia News Service