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Monitoring message services in UAE keeps us safe, says du exec.

Certain IP-based services can be difficult for authorities to track

Restricting and controlling some internet protocol messaging services is good for national security, a senior executive at one of the UAE's two telecom operators has said.

Speaking at the Digital Disruption Summit yesterday, du vice president Samer Geissah said blocking certain IP-based messaging services is "safer" because they can be difficult for authorities to monitor, especially in light of terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 130 people.

He said: "If you look at what's happening around the world right now, and you see what happened in France, the terrorists are even using communication networks like Xbox and PlayStation networks to communicate -- having control is not seen as a negative thing."

While it remains unclear whether the Paris perpetrators employed a gaming console to communicate, Belgian federal home affairs minister Jan Jambon recently warned of the growing use of the PS4 among Islamic State in Iraq and Levant extremists to pass information.

"If you can't monitor it when you need to monitor it, then it needs to be stopped because you just don't ever know when exactly things will happen," Geissah said.

The VP clarified that PC-to-PC or device-to-device communication on Skype "has never been blocked".

"But anything that touches public lines or telephone lines has been in the past requested to be blocked because that is a national asset and we don't want to expose [it]," he said.

Earlier this year, du CEO Osman Sultan told 7DAYS that access to VoIP in the UAE is restricted because of the possible impact on profits.

"The use of VoIP creates an economical issue," he said.

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Publication:7 Days (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:Dec 8, 2015
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