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Veto Viber? Tax Telegram? Such Are Tajikistan's Tech Company Conundrums
Tajikistan is making it harder for popular mobile messaging apps to operate in the country while simultaneously directing Tajik ISPs to only buy from state-owned Tojnet, in an apparent attempt to generate more revenue for the state. In December, Tajikistan "revoked ISPs’ licenses to provide IP-based cheap call services through a protocol known as NGN (New Generation Network)" while also blocking Viber, a popular video/chat app, Salam Aleik writes for Global Voices Advocacy. "In recent months, the government has made moves to monopolize the internet service provision and revoke licences for cheap IP-based call services. It has also been reported that restrictions are being placed on popular mobile messaging applications.These changes all could make life costlier for users in Tajikistan, the poorest country to emerge from the Soviet breakup...

Although state officials claimed that they took these measures in the interest of “national security” 'because of extremists’ threats', motivations for revoking NGN service and blocking Viber's audio and video call features appear to have been more economic than political. Both had become a thorn in the side of state-run Tojiktelecom, as they allowed millions of citizens with friends and relatives working abroad to keep in touch without using costly international calling services.

Over a million Tajiks are migrant workers outside the country, mostly in Russia. If it weren't for apps like Viber, Tajiks would likely be using international phone lines to call their relatives, and thus generating revenue for Tojiktelecom, the government-run international exchange point for telephony. Or they would simply call home less often."
otf  tajikistan  viber  access  censorship  block 
february 2018 by dmcdev
Malaysia's new social media guidelines are a tool to silence governmentt critics: rights groups | @BenarNews
"Civil rights groups and internet group-chat administrators said Malaysia’s new guideline for social media and messaging platforms is a tool to silence government critics and obstruct freedom of expression.

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) [last week] released a list of six do’s and six don’ts targeted to administrators of WhatsApp and other platforms including Facebook, WeChat, Viber and Telegram.

'Such guidelines are intrusive into the privacy of citizens and their freedom of speech and certainly inconsistent with democratic practices,' Lawyers for Liberty executive director Eric Paulsen told BenarNews[.]" - BenarNews
otf  Malaysia  asia  social  whatsapp  legal  policy  viber  wechat  telegram  southeastasia  benar 
may 2017 by dmcdev
5 Reasons Why You Should Ditch WhatsApp for Viber
WhatsApp is the biggest instant messaging app out there, but is it the best? Hit the link to find out why Viber might just be a better choice.
android  messaging  viber  whatsapp 
april 2017 by kger
Five Best Alternative Texting Apps
If you send more text and photo messages with your smartphone than you actually place calls, you may already have a favorite free texting app or service that you prefer. After all, SMS and MMS cost money to send (and sometimes, to receive), and if you can do it for free using mobile data or Wi-Fi, why wouldn't you? This week we're going to look at five of the best alternative texting apps and services, based on your nominations. Earlier in the week we asked you which alternative texting apps you preferred when you want to communicate with friends without spending a ton of money. You responded with tons of great nominations, but we only have room for the top five.
SMS  Messaging  Texting  Lifehacker  Google  GoogleVoice  GoogleHangouts  Viber  FacebookMessenger 
february 2017 by dk33per
This Is What Happens When Millions Of People Suddenly Get The Internet - BuzzFeed News
"Less than 1% of Myanmar had internet access until 2014. Now the country is getting online at an astonishing rate — but so is fake news and anti-Muslim sentiment. Sheera Frenkel finds out what happens when everyone you know joins Facebook at the same time."

"YANGON, Myanmar — The internet brought Donald Trump to Myanmar. Or, at least that’s how Shar Ya Wai first remembers hearing about the Republican president-elect.

“One day, nobody knew him. Then, everyone did. That’s what the internet is. It takes people who say crazy things and makes them famous,” the 19-year-old student said.

Like most people in this country of 50 million, which only recently opened up to the outside world, Shar Ya Wai is new to the internet. And on this day, she had walked purposefully into a phone shop in central Yangon to buy her first smartphone, a simple model by China’s Huawei that is popular among her friends. “Today I’ll buy this phone,” she said. “I guess I’ll find out how crazy [the internet] really is.”

It’s not that she’d never seen the internet before. She’d tried to stalk ex-boyfriends through a friend’s Facebook page and caught glimpses of the latest Thai pop bands on her uncle’s old tablet, which he bought secondhand a year ago. But her forays into the internet have been brief and largely left her perplexed. Here was a public space where everyone seemed to have so much to say, but it was disorganized, bombastic, overwhelming. It felt like the polar opposite of the quiet, sheltered life she’d lived until recently.

“My father is a measured person. He speaks carefully and always wanted us to speak carefully too,” she said, smoothing down her waist-length black hair, betraying her nerves. “I’m more energetic, like my mom. We speak a lot more, but it is nothing like what I see on the internet.”

It was her father who wanted her to put off buying a phone until she was old enough to “use it safely,” though she wasn’t really sure what that meant. She thought he might be referring to the men who post crass and vulgar photos online. Or he might be worried about the various scammers who are increasingly targeting the nascent internet in Myanmar. She wasn’t sure because no one had ever told her how to stay safe online — what to do, or say, or write.

Still, on this day in mid-July, Shar Ya Wai pushed herself out of a crowded store in central Yangon, holding the cellophane-wrapped cell phone as though it were an injured bird. Her fingers cradled the top and felt for the button that would turn it on, but then hesitated.

“Maybe I should wait until later. I should wait until I’m with my family,” she said, and then admitted, “I’m scared.”

She has reason to be afraid. For nearly five decades, Myanmar lived under military dictatorships that suppressed all forms of dissent and limited free speech, leading to US and European sanctions that largely cut off the country from the rest of the world. That changed in 2011, when the military junta was officially dissolved and a nominally civilian government was established. In 2015, in the first national election since the military eased its hold, Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy Party was voted into power. Of the changes to hit the largely Buddhist country since then, few have been as drastic — and as rapid — as the sudden arrival of the internet to the general public. It revolutionized everything, from how people interact with one another to how they get their news, once the exclusive purview of hyper-regulated state-sanctioned media."
myanmar  mobileonly  mobile  phones  internet  sheerafrenkel  technology  news  media  online  facebook  smartphones  viber  socialmedia 
december 2016 by robertogreco
WhatsApp and Viber Blocked on Election Day in Montenegro
Parliamentary elections in Montenegro on 16 October 2016 were marred with allegations of irregularities, reported via social networks, and a temporary ban on WhatsApp, Viber and similar messaging apps. - Filip Stojanovski, Global Voices Advocacy
otf  montenegro  whatsapp  viber  messaging  censorship  election  elections 
october 2016 by dmcdev
Angered by Mobile App Censorship, Saudis Ask: ‘What’s the Point of Having Internet?’ · Global Voices
Residents of Saudi Arabia can no longer make calls using the messaging and voice calling app LINE. Authorities blocked LINE's calling feature over the weekend of September 3, adding it to the long list of VoIP services and messaging apps entirely or partially blocked in Saudi Arabia.
- Afef Abrougui, Global Voices
otf  saudiarabia  saudi  MENA  mobile  app  censorship  line  viber  whatsapp  privacy  security 
september 2016 by dmcdev
Digital in APAC 2016 - We Are Social UK
Since our last APAC report in March last year, the reported number of internet users has jumped 27%, while the number of people using social media from mobile devices is up a staggering 50%. This compares to average global growth of 19% and 39% respectively for the same measures.

Here are the headline numbers for digital connectivity in APAC:

Internet users in APAC: 1.83 Billion
Social media users in APAC: 1.43 Billion*
Mobile connections in APAC: 3.86 Billion**
Mobile social media users in APAC: 1.36 Billion*
mobile  socialmedia  mobilesocial  mobilemessaging  internet  statistics  penetration  growth  Facebook  WhatsApp  FacebookMessenger  QQ  WeChat  QZone  Tumblr  Instagram  Twitter  Skype  Baidu  Weibo  Line  Snapchat  YY  LinkedIn  Pinterest  Telegram  Viber  VKontakte  Australia  Bangladesh  Bhutan  Brunei  Cambodia  China  Fiji  HongKong  India  Indonesia  Japan  Laos  Macau  Malaysia  Maldives  Mongolia  Myanmar  Nepal  NewZealand  NorthKorea  Pakistan  PapuaNewGuinea  Philippines  Singapore  SouthKorea  SriLanka  Taiwan  Thailand  EastTimor  Vietnam  WeAreSocial  2016 
september 2016 by inspiral

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