Oman's Clubhouse block could be censorship attempt

Posted:
in iOS edited March 14
The blocking of audio-based social app Clubhouse in Oman on Sunday is claimed by a regulator to be a permit issue, but critics fear it may be an attempt to censor the iOS app's users.




Clubhouse was blocked on Sunday, preventing users from being able to access the service within the country. Users experienced error messages when they tried to use the app to find or create new rooms for conversations, which they shared on Twitter.

The Omani Telecommunications Regulatory Authority confirmed to Reuters there was a ban in place, due to a "lack of proper authorization." The regulator said "similar communications applications must obtain a permit from the authority" in order to operate.

Following the block, critics offered that the ban was one that eroded the human rights of the country's citizens.

"The government of Oman takes the authoritarian government of China as a role model," said the Omani Association for Human Rights. Clubhouse was apparently targeted because it was "used by Omanis as a space to express their opinions freely without government censorship."

China blocked Clubhouse in February, in what was thought to be an attempt to shut down an avenue for Chinese internet users to converse without fear of being censored.

Omani writer Zakaria al-Muharrim wrote they hoped the suspension was a "result of technical issues and not a formal ban" of the app. "Preventing people from speaking and listening to others does not protect societies, but rather increases tensions and pushes them into the abyss of chaos and confrontation."

The block is the latest issue that Clubhouse faces, with it being a popular venue for unrestrained conversations with others. The app quickly became a favorite of users in countries that have more authoritarian regimes, ones where governments attempt to manage the conversations of citizens.

In February, the app said it was working to improve its security and to ease concerns that the Chinese government had the potential to monitor conversations made within the app.


Stay on top of all Apple news right from your HomePod. Say, "Hey, Siri, play AppleInsider," and you'll get latest AppleInsider Podcast. Or ask your HomePod mini for "AppleInsider Daily" instead and you'll hear a fast update direct from our news team. And, if you're interested in Apple-centric home automation, say "Hey, Siri, play HomeKit Insider," and you'll be listening to our newest specialized podcast in moments.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 5
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 2,342member
    I find it strange that Apple is happy doing business in Oman, which jails people who are LGBTQ for about 3 years (generally only if you get caught, to be fair), and never protests that, but Apple tries to avoid doing business in North Carolina because about 3 years ago there was a law in North Carolina that (if I recall correctly) said that you had to use bathrooms that corresponded to your legal gender rather than your preferred gender. Apparently Apple is more concerned with bathroom rules in North Carolina than jailed transgendered people in Oman.

    See? I'm not always on Apple's side. I tend to be on the side of freedom and human rights. My solution: stop doing business in dictatorships.
    n2macs
  • Reply 2 of 5
    n2macsn2macs Posts: 81member
    At the end of the day it’s all about money and preferred censorship.
  • Reply 3 of 5
    amar99amar99 Posts: 69member
    I mean Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook openly ban accounts all the time. At the end of the day, censorship is censorship. Somehow it's easier for people to point the finger when other countries do it though.
    edited March 15 watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 5
    amar99 said:
    I mean Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook openly ban accounts all the time. At the end of the day, censorship is censorship. Somehow it's easier for people to point the finger when other countries do it though.
    I’m so glad people see the hypocrisy in this move. It gives me hope. Large, ubiquitous tech companies selectively censoring is really no different than government censorship. It’s only within the last 5-10 years that they’ve had enough power, a big enough audience, and blind devotion to be able to pull it off. 

    Apple consistently condones the behaviors of dictatorships abroad while doing, frankly, the same thing here even if the teams are swapped. It’s all about money, power, and control. 
  • Reply 5 of 5
    michelb76michelb76 Posts: 239member
    I find it strange that Apple is happy doing business in Oman, which jails people who are LGBTQ for about 3 years (generally only if you get caught, to be fair), and never protests that, but Apple tries to avoid doing business in North Carolina because about 3 years ago there was a law in North Carolina that (if I recall correctly) said that you had to use bathrooms that corresponded to your legal gender rather than your preferred gender. Apparently Apple is more concerned with bathroom rules in North Carolina than jailed transgendered people in Oman.

    See? I'm not always on Apple's side. I tend to be on the side of freedom and human rights. My solution: stop doing business in dictatorships.
    Indeed. They should stop doing business in the USA as well until the human rights situations on the borders, and the immigration policies are resolved.
Sign In or Register to comment.