Tajikistan Limits Access on Popular Messaging App
Users in Tajikistan of the popular messaging app Viber have reported they are no longer able to use the program for voice calls — apparently as a result of action from telecommunications regulators.
A source at one local mobile telecommunications company told EurasiaNet.org on January 4 that as of the start of this year, all internet traffic is required to pass through infrastructure owned by government-run Tajiktelecom. Accordingly, blocking online resources no longer requires cooperation from individual internet service providers, since Tajiktelecom is in effect in charge of the spigot.
The change means that the government can — and already seems to be willing to — cut off access to websites and online services at will.
This all dates back to a 2016 government decree requiring all internet data to be filtered through a largely hypothetical system known as the Unified Electronic Communications Switching Center, or EKTs in its Russian language acronym. This system purportedly funnels any type of telecommunications-based exchange — be it by phone or Internet — through a powerful computer as a security measure.
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