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The real reason why WhatsApp calls are barred in UAE

Anjana Sankar /Abu Dhabi
anjana@khaleejtimes.com Filed on June 23, 2017 | Last updated on June 23, 2017 at 07.25 am
The real reason why WhatsApp calls are barred in UAE
"As a security and online child protection expert, I have concerns about enabling free WhatsApp calls that are encrypted"

(Phocalmedia)

Arab world not yet ready for VoIP, say experts

The security situation in the Arab world is not conducive for enabling end-to-end encrypted calling features on instant messaging services like WhatsApp, Dr. Saeed Al Dhaheri, Chairman of SmartWorld, a digital service provider and a joint initiative between Etisalat and Dubai South.
 
"As a customer, I will definitely stand to benefit if WhatsApp calling is enabled. But when you consider the national security and current situation in some Arab countries, I would not recommend it," Dhaheri told Khaleej Times.
 
"In the region, security is a pressing concern. If we open up encrypted calling services, that will allow terrorists and other extremists groups to communicate securely without being tracked by security agencies. Personally, I doubt we are ready for de-regulating the telecommunications industry."
 
He said even if providers like Du and Etisalat would benefit because of the increased use of data bandwidth, national security cannot be compromised.
 
Toeing the same line, Mohammed Mustafa Saidalavi, COO of Emirates Safer Internet Society said he would love to see a free quality tool where people can make free calls but "not at the cost of safety and security."
 
"As a security and online child protection expert, I have concerns about enabling free WhatsApp calls that are encrypted. I will not endorse any tools that will allow criminals and anti-social elements to use encrypted calls and messages," said Saidalavi.

author

Anjana Sankar

Anjana Sankar is a UAE-based journalist chasing global stories of conflict, migration and human rights. She has reported from the frontlines of the wars in Yemen and Syria and has extensively written on the refugee crisis in Bangladesh, Iraq and Europe. From interviewing Daesh militants to embedding with the UAE army in Yemen, and covering earthquakes, floods, terrorist attacks and elections, she has come out scathe-free from the most dangerous conflict zones of the world. Riding on over 14 years of experience, Anjana currently is an Assistant Editor with Khaleej Times and leads the reporting team. She often speaks about women empowerment on her Facebook page that has 40,000 plus followers.


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