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Ethiopia reportedly makes using VoIP services like Skype a criminal offense

According to reports, the Ethiopian government has increased its restrictions on internet use in the country, which now make accessing voice over IP tools like Skype a crime. The law was reportedly ratified last month, on May 24th, and according to Reporters Without Borders the crime is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. "The authorities say the ban was needed on national security grounds and because VoIP posed a threat to the state's monopoly of telephone communications," the group said before this month. Amharic-language Ethiopian newspaper Addis Admas appears to be the first outlet to have reported on the new law.

Internet penetration in the nation is relatively limited — according to Google just 0.75 percent of the 82 million people in Ethiopia had internet access in 2010. But in spite of the relatively small number of internet users in the country, Reporters Without Borders believes that these actions could be a "turning point in the Ethiopian government's control of the Internet," with these DPI techniques potentially used for surveillance of those citizens who do have access.

More information: Theverge
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