UAE blocks Skype then blocks Skype petition website

Published:  18 Jan at 6 PM
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Tagged: USA, Citizenship, UAE
As if losing access to Skype over the holiday season wasn’t enough, the UAE government is now blocking the website set up to protest the ban.

Skype is perennially popular for expats and citizens wanting to stay in touch with friends and family across the world, especially during Christmas and the New Year celebrations. A wave of anger swept over the emirates when the UAE government blocked efforts to contact loved ones over the holidays, with lawmakers ignoring requests for Skype to be freed up.

Etsalat UAE didn’t help with its sniffy explanation for the block which, for many, read as ‘it’s our law – get over it’. In addition, Skype itself wasn’t overly popular for its unhelpful statement that there wasn’t anything they could do about it. Stuck without answers, UAE residents and expats flooded social media with their complaints as well as refusing Etsalat’s proffered legal communication app Botim as it’s a fee paying service.

Before long, one user started a petition on the website, stating Skype is vital for expats and their families living in the UAE far away from their loved ones. Many expats, he wrote, can’t afford to use paid services to contact loved ones overseas. The petition attracted thousands of signatures as well as comments from unhappy Skype users but, within a few hours, the website and its protest petition were also blocked, causing a new wave of anger from the UAE’s resident and expat communities.

As of today, users from outside the UAE are reporting over 5,000 signatures on the petition, with the numbers still rising. It’s not just Skype which is being blocked for no good reason, with Facetime, WhatsApp and Discord chat sites also on the no-go list.
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