Ethiopian Telecom law affirms Skype’s legality (Jul 13, 2012)
The Ethiopian Parliament approved yesterday the draft Proclamation on Telecom Fraud Offences as Proclamation 761/2012. The draft legislation had been referred to the Science, Communication and Technology Standing Committee of the parliament on May 24, 2012 for further consideration. Parliament approved the new law after the consideration of the draft by the Committee. The new legislation voids the previous prohibition on private use of VOIP services under the 2002 Telecom legislation which included Skype and Google Talk. It does, however, prohibit the provision of telecom operator services without a permit. In recent weeks the Government has clarified the confusion that arose over the draft law after mistaken reports that it was intended to criminalize the private use of Skype and other VOIP services. Ato Shimelis Kemal, the Minister of State at the Government Communications Affairs Office, made it clear that the use of VOIP, including Skype and Google Talk and similar services was not banned and that the proposed law was aimed at controlling service providers that operate illegally to generate revenues through these services.