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Ethiopia bans Skype, Google Talk, and all other VoIP services

The Ethiopian government has banned the use of Voice over IP (VoIP) services like Skype, Google Talk, and others. This ban comes with severe penalties — up to 15 years in prison — for those who use these services while in Ethiopia, including visitors.

Ethiopian authorities say they are imposing these bans because of “national security concerns” and to protect the state-opened Ethio Telecom, which is also the only Internet service provider in the country.

Ethiopia has a population of 84 million citizens, of whom 700,000 have access to the Internet.

As a general reminder for those traveling abroad, it is important to understand the laws and restrictions in place within other countries. All travelers are expected to abide by the host country’s laws.