BBC News – Saudi Arabia ‘threatens Skype ban’ # TWIST: #interception breaks the #privacy of the #Hijab

Strange bedfellows…

Encrypted messaging services such as Skype, Viber and WhatsApp could be blocked in Saudi Arabia, the telecommunications regulator there is reported to have warned.

It is demanding a means to monitor such applications, but Saudis say that would seriously inhibit their communications.

Saudi newspapers are reporting that the companies behind the applications have been given a week to respond.

No explanation has been given of why the demand has been made.

Ahmed Omran, a Saudi blogger who runs the Riyadh Bureau site, says that Saudi telecom companies may be tempted to go along with the request from the regulator – even though it will upset their customers – because of the loss of revenue they suffer from the free apps, which are hugely popular in the country.

One Saudi source goes further – with an article in the local Arab News suggesting that it may even have been the telecom companies themselves that have been demanding that action be taken against the apps.

The move is similar to attempts to rein in the Blackberry messaging service several years ago.

Simple and affordable

The explosion in social media networks has had a big impact in Saudi Arabia, which has the highest take-up of Twitter in the world, reports the BBC’s Arab affairs editor Sebastian Usher.

Outside interest in the phenomenon has largely focused on how this has allowed Saudis to express themselves in a public forum on social or political issues in an unprecedented way.

Saudis see this latest threat a little differently, our correspondent says. Any move to monitor or block sites like Skype and WhatsApp would potentially deprive them of what has become an essential means of simply communicating with friends and family.

One Saudi user told the local media that she would feel uncomfortable talking to her relative on Skype without her hijab (headscarf) if she believed someone might be monitoring her.

Expatriate workers have messaged newspapers pleading with the Saudis not to stop their only affordable means of communication to their families back home.

If it did happen, though, one Saudi told the BBC that it would not take long for people to find a new way to communicate for free.

via BBC News – Saudi Arabia ‘threatens Skype ban’.

Intra-Christian Envy | Giles Fraser | Comment is free | The Guardian

Justin Welby is the theological product of Holy Trinity Brompton, the Old Etonian-run church next to Harrods that brought the world the Alpha Course and doubles up as a posh dating agency for west London singles. They are brilliant at PR and have pots of money. And if Christianity is all about success, then you have it hand it to them.

But the problem with PR Christianity is that it can easily transform Jesus into Cheesus, which is a form of Jesus-lite, a romantic infatuation, a Mills & Boon theology that makes you feel all warm inside. The Gospels, however, tell an altogether more disturbing story. And there is no PR agency in the world that could sell the message of a man who told his followers that they too would have to go the way of the cross. That’s the problem with Cheesus. He won’t really suffer and he doesn’t ever die.

via I bang my head against the wall when evangelicals turn Jesus into Cheesus | Giles Fraser | Comment is free | The Guardian.

Reading about the necessity for “real” marriage to be “consommated”; God wants married straight people to make soup?

Via this analysis, which takes this correspondent’s position to pieces:

Craig: “Are you a libertarian or something, because I’m not sensing any clear political philosophy behind your position?”

Alec: “No, I’m not a libertarian. I’m from the Internet. I’m here to help.

Haz.

“If your education is to be used to shut up, placate, downplay, sweet talk, then you are better off being a carpenter”

http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/8842941/i-may-be-killed-if-i-write-this/

‘I may be killed if I write this’

Lars Hedegaard, founder of Denmark’s Free Press Society, speaks from a secret location after an attempt on his life

[…]

But what of those who say, ‘Well, he ought to have known. This is what happens if you upset or provoke people’?

‘I don’t want to brag and put myself on a level where I don’t belong, but you could have said the same thing about the White Rose in Germany, the resistance group. They ought to have known that if they said something about Nazism, they would be killed. Or you could say the same thing about the Danish resistance movement during the German occupation. It was said to them: do not go out and sabotage. Collaborate and shut up, otherwise you’ll get to a concentration camp and you’ll be executed. You could have said the same thing to Winston Churchill or the British Army — why the hell make trouble? You know what’s going to happen if you resist — you’ll be killed. Yes, and many of them were.’

‘It’s not because I’m a hero or I want to be a martyr. Far from it. I take it seriously that people, Danish taxpayers many years ago, paid for me to get a university education at a very good university in Denmark, where I learnt about history, humanities, logic and philosophy, and English by the way. I feel an obligation to use my education for what it was meant to be. If not, then you don’t deserve to be educated. If your education is to be used to shut up, placate, downplay, sweet talk, then you are better off being a carpenter.’

Can’t think what or who he’s alluding to.