Ban Over Internet Calls Lifted in Saudi Arabia

 

The ban that Saudi Arabia had imposed on call applications has been removed. The lift over the ban will be effected from Wednesday onwards. The nation has banned Whatsaap and Skype and other similar apps as they did not comply with their “regulations.” These apps fall under the Voice over Internet Protocol ( VoIP), which the ministry of communications has finally made available to the conservative country.

Since 2011, the restrictions over the internet have increased. In 2013 the Saudi government even explained the reason for the ban stating that they wished to protect their society from negative aspects that harm public interest. They also justified the ban saying it would boost the economical conditions of the state. Reportedly, resident of Saudi Arabia found a way around the ban by using a virtual private network (VPN). But the calls faced connectivity issues often.
Saudi’s three major telecom companies will expectantly take a hit, because of the volume of international calls that are made by a population of 12 million foreigners living there. Saudi Arabia is famous for having blocked several websites and its online censorship- not just pornographic sites but also several other sites that are not supportive of Israel or their country. This is in accordance with the strategy of the crown prince, Mohmmed Bin Salman to breathe some fresh air into all sectors of the economy.
Source: BBC, Telegraph

Whatsapp comes up with status story version copying Snapchat

WhatsApp came up with with its own version of 24-hour story copying the trend set by Snapchat in the form of Status.  Facebook recently owned WhatsApp and now it has and updated feature for the status. Instead of posting a short status, like “in the gym, at school”, one can post a picture or video that will be up for 24 hours on your profile. This feature was recently added in Instagram.

A unique elements added to this WhatsApp’s version of Stories is GIFs. Also all the status updates are end-to-end encrypted which gives a security stability to the updates. Another improves feature is of the videos which can be of 45 seconds, overpowering the 10 seconds videos on other platforms.

To remind, Whatsapp works on address book, therefore your status is visible to your Whatsapp contacts and there aren’t any followers. But undoubtedly the concept remains the same.

In  the past six months, Whatsapp has added features of almost all social media applications like video call of Skype, voice call like Viber, sending documents like Xender and many more features from Facebook.

The 24 hour status story update feature is available from Monday to the WhatsApp users of Netherlands and France. Later in the week it will begin in U.K., Spain, Italy, Israel and Saudi Arabia. Indian ‘WhatsAppers’ still need to wait for the updated version.

Source: India Today, DNA

Image Source: Representational image from Yourstory.com

Skype and WhatsApp set to come under the new EU security rules

User security and data confidentiality is one of the major concerns in the online space today. In view of this, European Union is all set to propose stricter rules for the widely used messaging services such as WhatsApp and Skype pertaining to how they handle user data.

The EU is aiming to extend these rules even to web companies and not just telecom operators. For this the web services will have to guarantee the confidentiality of user data and obtain consent before accessing user location and similar information.

The phone companies want these EU rules which are specific to only Telecom firms, either extend to all or be repealed, “This creates a void of protection of confidentiality for the users of these services,” the draft said, referring to web companies or OTT (Over-the-Top) services.

According to this draft telecom companies that were earlier barred from using customer data, will now have access to consumer data with their consent.

In addition to this, the draft also said that it would remove the obligation for websites to seek permission from users to place cookies on their browsers through a banner, if the user has already consented through the privacy settings of their browser.

A spokesperson from the European Union refused to comment on this matter, but confirmed that the aim of the review is to regulate and revise data protection and simplify the provisions for cookies with effect from 2018.

Sources: Reuters, IB Times

Image Source: Snopes.com

Unwrap gift cards with Skype’s latest launch!

Living away from home and not sure what to gift your loved ones? Fret not, because this festive season, the makers at Skype are giving users more reasons to celebrate. The popular Internet-based audio and video chat service has launched both virtual and physical gift cards worth $10 – some of which are already up for sale online and in stores.

Skype Gift Cards are now available in 44 countries.

For more details, click here.