VoIP blocked in Lebanon

An interesting Global Voices article has highlighted why we should not take Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services for granted.

The website tries to give a voice to people from around the globe, especially on matters where their freedoms are being impinged.

It is reporting on current outrage in Lebanon after the government there banned the use of VoIP. In fact VoIP has not been permitted since 2002 in Lebanon, but it is only just now that the ban is being enforced.

An angry blogger bemoaned the fact that he was unable to use the Google Gizmo5 SIP calling service because the network was blocked. His fears were confirmed by other bloggers on various forums.

They are all pointing the finger at the high earning telecommunications industry in Lebanon which would basically stand to lose a lot of revenue from VoIP, as would the Lebanese government in taxes.

So they activated equipment which blocks the use of VoIP services like Magic Jack, with Skype thought to be the next service on the list.

As Joseph Lubnan said on a forum: "Blocking VOIP is a retarded policy. At the very least [the government] should communicate the views and reasons behind this policy. The public deserves a clear explanation."

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