Syrian government is considering the censorship of VoIP services

The Syrian Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA) declared [link in Arabic] that the censorship of VoIP services is being examined, as it has adverse effects on the revenues of licensed telecommunication companies. Ibaa Oueichek, General Director of TRA, explained that ‘these apps which are known as audio and visual communications service apps, without charge, benefiting from the arrival of the internet to a huge number of users around the world. But this affects the revenues of the communications companies licensed to offer the service, and thereby lowers the return on investment for these companies and reduces their incentives to make new investments to improve the network and offer better services for a lower price.’ Social Media Exchange (SMEX) argues that such policy violates the rights to privacy and promotes self-censorship, since licensed telecommunication companies do not provide the end-to-end encryption supported by VoIP services. This censorship will further threaten the communications between Syrians and their family and friends who were forced to escape the country amid the war.