Egypt sets new regulations on SMS services

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
October 13, 2010 01:21

 
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CAIRO – Egypt's telecommunications regulator has set new rules for companies sending text messages to multiple mobile phones, in a move activists say will stifle efforts to mobilize voters ahead of upcoming parliamentary elections.

Reform groups in Egypt, as well as elsewhere in the region such as Iran, have increasingly relied on the internet and mobile phones to organize, mobilize and evade government harassment.

Mahmoud el-Gweini, adviser to the Egyptian telecommunication minister, told The Associated Press Tuesday that companies sending out text messages — known as SMS aggregators — must now obtain licenses.

The decision was not meant to curb political activity, he said, but was spurred by concerns that "random" text messages concerning sensitive issues such as religious tension or the stock market could be sent to consumers.

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