A 30-second call using Skype in Ethiopia can land you a 15-year prison sentence, thanks to new legislation passed by the country’s government.
The new legislation will criminalize the use of all Voice Over IP (VoIP) services, such as Skype or Google Voice, from within the country, according to an Al Jazeera report. The legislation, which was voted into law last month with little notice from international media, seems to close a loophole that was allowing some of its citizens to communicate without being monitored by authorities.
The country’s sole communication infrastructure is operated by government-run telecomEthio Teleco. The new legislation empowers the state-owned telecom to prohibit the use not only of VoIP services, but also of video chatting, social media, e-mail, and any other data transfer service capable of communicating information. So that encompass pretty much all communication except for speaking aloud and talking within your own mind.