RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia may try to end anonymity for Twitter users in the country by limiting access to the site to people who register their identification documents, the Arab News daily reported on Saturday.
Last week, local media reported the government had asked telecom companies to look at ways they could monitor, or block, free internet phone services such as Skype.
Twitter is highly popular with Saudis and has stirred broad debate on subjects ranging from religion to politics in a country where such public discussion had been considered at best unseemly and sometimes illegal.
Early this month, the security spokesman for Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry described social networking, particularly Twitter, as a tool used by militants to stir social unrest.
The country’s Grand Mufti, Saudi Arabia’s top cleric, last week described users of the microblogging site as “clowns” wasting time with frivolous and even harmful discussions, local newspapers reported.
Yes, of course, it is the function of discussion and humanity never to be frivolous, never creative, never wasted, never to be fun; there is only a limited amount of speech that is available to humanity, and it must be treated seriously, controlled carefully and rationed because speech is a non-renewable resource.
Or, that’s what they want you to think.