Authoritarian Uzbekistan is notorious for its tight grip on the media. But it's probably safe to assume that Tashkent knows what's been going on in northern Africa in recent months. Perhaps this is why the government is patching up a hole in its spotty control over access to information: mobile phone technology that allows users to view blocked Internet sites on cell phones and quickly distribute information via text message.
Russia’s RBC Daily reports that Uzbek regulators have demanded mobile operators notify the government about mass distributions of SMS messages with “suspicious content.” A source at the Uzbek Agency for Communications and Information, which regulates the wireless market, told RBC Daily that mobile operators would also have to switch their Internet networks off whenever authorities wish.
Already, Uzbek customers can only open a mobile account in the town where they are registered to live.
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