Skype ‘jail and fines’ claims false: UAE regulator
TRA dismisses reports of harsh penalties for users of unlicensed VoIP services
The UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority has issued a statement refuting the claim, made by national Arabic daily Emarat Al Youm, that Skype users in the UAE face prison or hefty fines for the use of Skype without proper authorisation from operators or the TRA.
While the statement made no direct reference to previous comments attributed to H.E. Majid Al Masmar, acting director general of the TRA, it appeared to deny that the statements were made.
"In reference to the article published in Emarat Al Youm [on] May 12, 2013 on the penalties of using Skype, attributing certain statements to the TRA, the TRA hereby confirms that it did not make any such statements."
Earlier today, Emarat Al Youm quoted Al Masmar as saying: "There is a big difference for subscribers when they get online Skype services formally through the two licensed operators and when they illegally download it via the site, as is currently done by a large number of people," said Al Masmar.
The Arab-language daily referred to Article 71 of the UAE Telecommunications Act, which it said covered the unlicensed use of VoIP services and which stipulated fines between AED5,000 and AED1m, and jail terms of up to two years for such activities.
The TRA's statement addressed the legislative references directly, confirming that "the provisions of article (71) do not apply in this case".