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Bahrain mulls VoIP crackdown: report

Gulf nation conducts study in pursuit of Skype, Viber ‘management’

The Communications Ministry believes the action will enhance security, protect data and guarantee the rights of service providers.
The Communications Ministry believes the action will enhance security, protect data and guarantee the rights of service providers.

Bahrain's telecom ministry is on the verge of introducing controls on Voice over IP (VoIP) services such as Skype and Viber, according to a report by The Gulf Daily News.

The paper quoted Minister of State for Communications Affairs Sheikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa as defending the proposed measures, arguing that they were necessary to protect the nation's "moral values and traditions".

The Communications Ministry also believes the action will enhance security, protect data and guarantee the rights of service providers.

Bahrain's pursuit of VoIP controls mirrors that of its more populous Gulf neighbour Saudi Arabia. Saudi's telecom regulator recently blocked Viber and was reportedly planning similar blockage of WhatsApp.

Shaikh Fawaz told The Gulf Daily News that the ministry was planning "development" of Bahrain's comms sector and that a study was progressing to enact appropriate legislation for the management of VoIP. The paper also reported that news of the study prompted widespread discussions of privacy concerns on the nation's social media forums.