Skype.com unblocked in Jordan! What was that all about?

13/10/2006

I can confirm that I was able to access the Skype.com domain again this morning. The story of the TRC’s attempted ban of Skype today made it to the Jordan Times, who ran a big story on the matter on page 2 (pasted in full below).

UNBELIEVABLY, the TRC is insisting on the security/terrorist threat issue. They say that the security issue has now been ‘resolved’ and that why the service is back in Jordan.

The TRC should have a lot of explaining to do if they want to insist on the security claim. Here’s why:

* During the ‘ban’ the service continued to be available, at least for me as a Wanadoo user. It was just the site that was inaccessible. What kind of a security ban was that?? * If security was really the matter, why weren’t other services blocked? Or is it just Skype that has security issues AND is being used by outlaws. * What exactly was the ‘encryption’ problem and how was it ‘resolved’.

As for our beloved ISPs, here’s some explaining they have to do?

* What do you fail to inform customers that interruptions to certain services are about to occur? * Did you or didn’t you know that the ‘ban’ was temporary? If you did know, why didn’t you customer service geniuses tell us?

Amazing!

Companies and organizations like the TRC should respect customers and citizens more. After all, we are paying them to serve us, not to sit in an ivory tower and hand down draconian ban orders (or whatever that whole fiasco was about).

I am glad this episode is over. But I suspect we have not seen the end of this issue.

Here’s the JT article from Friday 13, 2006:

Skype services back on track By Ramsey Tesdell

AMMAN — The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission has decided to allow Skype services to resume a month after they were blocked.

Director of the commission’s regulatory department, Al Ansari Al Mashaqbah, confirmed yesterday that the recent decision to block Skype had been reversed.

The official told The Jordan Times that the security issues, cited as the reason for the block, had been resolved.

Skype is a software programme that allows users to make cheap phone calls over the Internet using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology, which has grown in popularity in recent years.

The commission had sent a fax to all Internet service providers in the Kingdom on September 13 to notifiy them of the decision to block the use of Skype.

Technical support representatives at Batelco and Wanado confirmed that they had received word from the commission ordering them to block the Skype website and that all Internet service providers in the country had been asked to abide by this new policy.

The fax said Skype had been blocked because of security reasons.

The popular software programme uses an encryption method that came under attack recently. Technical support representatives at Wanado said the reasons Skype was being targeted was because of possible terrorist activity, and the inability to monitor Skype conversations.

A similar instance in China’s Shenzhen Province saw Skype services blocked for a short time until it abided by local laws. China Telecom, which ordered it blocked, reversed its decision after security issues were resolved.

Meanwhile, Skype users in the country reacted to the order to block VoIP services with dismay.

David DeBartolo uses Skype to communicate with colleagues around the world while living in Amman. DeBartolo, a Fulbright researcher with the Binational Fulbright Commission, was one of the first to discover that Skype services had been suspended.

Upon contacting the commission, he received a response that Skype services had been blocked for security reasons.

“Justification that it was blocked for security reasons is unfounded and absolute nonsense,” said Omar Qawas, a professional in the IT business, who has been using Skype for two years to stay in contact with friends and colleagues around the world.

Qawas told The Jordan Times that Skype was “a reliable alternative to using regular phones or mobiles, and much more cost-effective.”

14 Comments

  1. It’s going to be VERY VERY hard to block skype with their encrypted protocol, rotating server/port model and unpredictable connections. It was designed that way from the ground up.
    Now ISP’s MAY get successful in blocking the Domain, but they will fail blocking the actual protocol …
    I say, way to go Skype

  2. I was able to access it as a TeDATA user, I am not sure if it is the case for all ISPs.. I hope it is..
    Yesterday we were planing for the online/offline protests for the block policy, it seems that we will spare them our flame :)

  3. [...] I noticed it yesterday, and it is confirmed now (Thanks Ahmad), the TRC (Telecommunications Regulatory Commission) reversed their bad decision of blocking Skype. It seems that Skype is no longer a security threat. [...]

  4. Khalidah says:

    I could access the site too although the service was always availavle through my ISP as they did not block the log in server …

    Hmmmmm
    Security reasons??? why do I find that hard to absorb??

  5. Moey says:

    Man, it finally works without proxy. this is sooooo amazing

  6. Khalaf says:

    The TRC still uses the FAX? What does that tell you?

  7. Zafer says:

    Even though I have never used Skype, I am glad the TRC listened to reason and reversed its decision. But I hope they will not stick it to us by hiking or freezing for the long term other rates, be it long distance, ADSL, or whatever. But I kid you not, whatever jo telecom and the gov believe will lose in terms of revenues because of Skype, we will pay for it some other way, but that’s better than stifling progress.

    On a related note, did anyone hear rumors that email will be banned in Jordan to shore up Jordan’s Postal Service revenues and of course for security reasons? :)

  8. [...] … Ponders the great TRC titan. TRC stands for the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission who, as I noted previously, were deliberating blocking Skype in Jordan. Fortunately, many people took this fascist intention seriously and talked about it. As I have read, the TRC went ahead and blocked Skype (partially) then magically changed their minds about the “threat” Skype poses and unblocked it. [...]

  9. Moey says:

    # Khalaf Says:
    October 13th, 2006 at 2:22 pm

    The TRC still uses the FAX? What does that tell you?

    hahahahahaha

  10. nasimjo says:

    2ento fekerkoo hek yalla benna NEFTA7O fata7oo?!

    hai gathie ra7 fiha gotala w jahat w sharaf!

    nasimjo has been working in the background!

  11. Zeid Nasser says:

    You’ve been quoted on ITP.net ….. funnily they put 365east.com.

    Seems to me the concept of a circle is wasted on some people.

  12. I called wanadoo twice regarding this issue, and their reply was \”We are sure we have no problems from our side and its not blocked sir, its skype problem!!!\”
    I dunno till when these companies will keep this kind of attitude!
    from my side skype still not working, and I am wondering how other ppl here got to the service?

  13. Humeid says:

    Alaa!

    My friend, you are commenting on a post from last year..

    Anyway..

    This time, the problem is not from the Jordanian side. Skype had a global crash. Do a Google News search and read all about it.

  14. Donald says:

    Hello,

    I use Witopia personnalVPN to call with Skype and to access censored contents when I am in Dubai or in China (works in Belize, Cuba, Columbia, Jordan, UAE, …) .

    It encrypte your data to a US IP address so your ISP can’t detect your using Skype or another VoIP software !
    In addition it protects you against hackers.

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    I hope we will see you back soon on Skype …

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