Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Kuwait Blocks Viber? Good Luck With That ;-)

When I was working on my masters in national security affairs, we learned the concepts of capability vs. intent. How on earth can any country block those who are both technically savvy and strongly motivated? No matter what a country does to block the flow of communication, another route will be found, quickly, and information will flow . . .

This is just the latest vain effort to stop expats phoning home at cheaper rates. If the official international calling rates in Kuwait were not extortionate, people might even use the local system. As it is – just about every loyal Kuwaiti has some kind of long distance internet calling capability, or cell phone ap that makes it affordable. LOL, I am willing to bet that executives in the national telcom offices use internet phones or aps themselves.

Fight the battles you can win.

Kuwait weighs blocking Viber?

KUWAIT: Kuwait plans to study ways to control use of free calling and instant messaging services provided through smartphone applications, a local daily reported yesterday quoting Ministry of Communication insiders who said that such services could be banned if an agreement with developers could not be reached.

The news came days after Saudi Arabia announced blocking access to Viber after negotiations to allow government-monitoring for the service users in the kingdom broke down. “[The Ministry of Communications] is studying a proposal to form a technical committee whose job is to find ways by which the state can monitor audio and video calling services used through smartphone applications”, said the sources as quoted by Al-Anba yesterday. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not have permission from the relevant authorities to speak about the subject.

The sources specifically named Viber, an application that allows users to exchange messages, photos and videos as well as make calls free of charge using online services. “Viber is surrounded with espionage accusations especially that part of the company’s developers are centered in Israel while the company’s founder is an American-Israeli entrepreneur”, the sources explained. The current plan is for the proposed committee to study whether using the applications meets local regulations as well as the mechanism ‘to keep them under control’. —Al-Anba

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June 15, 2013 - Posted by | Bureaucracy, Communication, ExPat Life, Financial Issues, Kuwait, Leadership, Living Conditions, Middle East | , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. So, they block a lot of things and technology always has its way around using proxies etc. The country has not developed technologically nor in any other areas. Take into account a simple thing such as e-commerce. The country has a long way to go! They are lucky they have the oil for their economy stands. Wonder how long their natural resource can save them! God bless the country. The recent news regarding Kuwait just shows how pessimistic the local leader are and how they have shoo-ed away the future prospective skilled workers into the land. I miss the old Kuwait.

    Comment by T J | June 20, 2013 | Reply

  2. I agree, TJ, the tech savvy will find ways around any block in short time.

    As for Kuwait, I think all countries go through times of indirection, and Kuwait has been suffering lack of focus and will since the Iraq invasion. A united Kuwait has wealth, not just oil, but her people, and another abundant source of energy as the oil depletes, abundant sunshine. Kuwait could lead the world in solar power production. My hope is that one day, it will.

    A populace-focused assembly, led by corruption free officials, could turn the country around. The huge problems of infrastructure could be tackled – and solved. They have the brain-power, it is only lack of applying the right resources to the right solutions that keeps Kuwait stagnant. My hope is in the coming generation of modern leaders, who will work together for the benefit of all Kuwait.

    Comment by intlxpatr | June 20, 2013 | Reply

  3. It is disappointing to see countries just blatantly attempting ban what they cannot control. The countries in the region seem to be using two reasons to justify their decision to enforce control as you pointed out. They just seem to say, give us complete access or we’ll block you out. A great many section of citizens and immigrants rely on using such long distance services to make calls back home or to relatives in different other countries. And the exorbitant rates charged by the local telecom providers leaves such users no choice than opting for such services to stay in touch with dear and near ones. Hopefully, there would always be some way of getting around the blocks as you say. But it won’t be always accessible to all.

    Comment by Sharpless | September 21, 2013 | Reply


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