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Knowing About 10-13-2006 07:42 AM

Skype services back on track - Jordan
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."

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