The iPhone 5 on display 370.
(photo credit: Beck Diefenbach / Reuters)
Saudi Arabia is close to reaching an agreement with the operators of Whatsapp,
Viber and Skype in order to be able to monitor communications through these
platforms, according to a report on the Al Arabiya website on Tuesday. However,
if no deal is reached, Saudi Arabia may move to block the programs.
Saudi Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) requested that
the Saudi Telecommunications Company (STC) find a way for the government to
monitor these communication programs, according to a source quoted by Al
The site also quotes the managing director of the National
Information Systems Company, Abdulrahman Mazi, as saying that Saudi companies
will be required to block the programs if no agreement is reached.
also stated that IP providers in the country must give the government access to
any requested data for security purposes. It would take three to four months to
implement the block, he said.
Saudi Arabia’s citizens are among the
leaders in the region in terms of using social media. Al Arabiya reported that
there are three million Twitter users in the country, which is more than in any
other country in the Middle East.
This comes after a report on Sunday on
the website that Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti criticized Twitter in the Al Watan
newspaper as a “council of clowns” for people to “unleash unjust, incorrect, and