This apparently is my 500th blog post, wow. I have never really had much of an opinion about control of the internet by governments, until I saw this yesterday;
Ethiopia bans Skype; 15 years of jail time possible
This is very sad as I have a close friend who used to live in Israel who is of Ethiopian origin who has gone back there. The above article mentions 700,000 out of 84m people, (less than 1%) have internet access.
Last time I called him on Skype a few months ago I missed his call, then he was offline as the internet connection was too unreliable for me to call him back, so I rang him from my Skype account to his mobile using some credit which worked pretty good. So this is a good solution although can’t remember how much I spent last time.
With violence at a high amongst believers in Ethiopia, its sad that cutting off a cheap form of communication makes things harder for families on either side there. Foreigners should be careful what they say on the phone to friends there as its likely all calls are monitored.
There is only one ISP in Ethiopia and its owned by the government, there is an interesting wiki article here about the laws of the web in the north eastern African state.
This really awful for African Jews in Israel who almost certainly still have family and friends back there. Israel has 1.5% Jews of Ethiopian descent, and there are many more who want to come back soon.
Note to anyone in Ethiopia who has any type of computer, especially Christians doing ministry projects out there, get yourself a free piece of software (Windows or Mac) called Truecrypt to encrypt drives (internal or external) on your computer, if you are worried about any information which is sensitive in case a computer is seized by any form of hostile government.
A blogger who writes on Ethiopia mentions more on this here: http://transformingethiopia.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/new-telecom-crime-bill-grossly-criminalising-individual-liberty-at-stake/#more-5785