Pakistan has become the latest country to strike a blow against Internet freedom by announcing it will block Skype and Viber throughout a large portion of the country. Known for occasionally blocking access to Facebook and Twitter as well as an outright ban on YouTube, Pakistan claims that Skype and similar communications networks are being used by terrorists in an effort to avoid monitored conversations.
The ban will predominantly affect the Sindh Province and all those residing in Karachi. Pakistan has stated that the ban will last for three months, but many speculate that it could extend and also include services like Whatsapp and Tango and it will probably go on for longer than 3 months.
What does a block of Skype mean for those living and working in Pakistan? Are there ways to avoid the restriction? What are the implications of Pakistan blocking Skype for the rest of the world? These are questions Internet users in Pakistan and around the world must answer in the coming days.
What does Pakistan blocking Skype really mean?
The obvious concern here if for nationals and expatriates who reside in Pakistan. These individuals will no longer be able to access Skype through local and state-owned ISP’s. Skype is a preferred method of communication, especially for expats who need to speak to family at home because it is more cost-effective than International calling and offers the benefit of video chat in most cases.
There are many expats working in the health and education sectors of Pakistan. These individuals will be directly and immediately affected by the Skype block. It can be difficult for an expat from the West to adjust to situations like this which strike at the heart of free speech. Many of these individuals will be forced to find alternate means of communicating with loved ones and business associates.
Beyond the obvious implications, the more sinister aspect of a Pakistan block of Skype is that it further reduces the freedom of the Internet in a region which is already known for heavy-handed restriction. As more countries in this region block communications apps other countries follow suit. There has been a determined effort to monitor Internet activity under the pretense of security. Skype is already blocked in Oman, UAE and Belize.
Thankfully, there is a way to evade the Skype block in Pakistan. Expats and their families should pay particular attention to the following section.
Unblocking Skype in Pakistan
The solution for unblocking Skype in Pakistan is a VPN account. We are happy to provide these services to those who have been affected by this unfortunate news. Purchasing a VPN is simple and it can be configured in a short time with the detailed instructions we provide. Simply select the option you need from our Buy VPN page, complete your purchase, and restore your Skype access in Pakistan.
For the families of expats who are working in the region, it is important to consider the following information. Some VPN provider sites, including ours, are blocked in some locations to prevent purchasing a VPN account. It may be necessary for someone outside Pakistan to purchase the VPN account for their family member who is working in Pakistan. This is one of the best things you can do for your loved one if they are an expatriate. Do not allow your communication with them to be cutoff. This is preventable. Alternatively, if you are planning a trip to Pakistan but have not yet departed, make sure you purchase one of our VPN options before you leave.
In addition, your VPN account will also allow you to access local television programming, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and a host of other services that you are able to use at home. Your overall security will also be improved through the encryption of your connection and data transfer.
It is important to know that you do not have to routinely accept a Skype block in Pakistan. The time to address this important issue is now, however, as the ban is expected to be fully implemented in a very short period of time.
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