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As a professional network engineer this is utterly preposterous. Ignorant government officials who know nothing about how the Internet actually works, trying to fuck with it because it's something beyond their petty attempts at control. When will people realize that blocking VoIP and blocking a ton of other stuff (Ethiopia and the UAE are great examples), in the long term and in aggregate, results in more economic damage and a poorer telecom/Internet ecosystem than allowing all traffic freely? They're short sightedly trying to raise revenue by taxing the mobile phone carriers, who are 95% of the data connections in the country, when they should be focused on allowing telecoms to build better pipes for domestic and international traffic.

Quick edit: People who run major international ASNs and medium sized regional ASNs have a responsibility to not aid and abet this bullshit. Don't contract for government entities that want to implement filtering/blocking of stuff. Refuse to participate with network engineering and architecture decisions and implementation that hurt net neutrality. There is a finite pool of people with the real talent, clue and 15+ years of experience who can build carrier-grade ISP infrastructure. If people want to fuck up their domestic Internet in $COUNTRY, do not help them. No matter how lucrative it might appear at first glance.

There is such a thing as ethics in network engineering, just as there is in software engineering. Think long and hard about what you think defines an ethical ISP. If you're asked to do something contrary to that, refuse to participate.

Incompetence at that level is malice. Short sightedness is nothing new in politics. As is fucking with the middle class. (I mean with those who understand the problem of blocking certain kinds of Internet traffic.)

Oh, it's absolutely malicious. In a typical $RANDOM_DEVELOPING_NATION the amount of corruption and graft that goes on between the "Minister of Communications" and other government entities (quasi-state-owned telco in the UAE for example) is something that has to be seen first hand to be believed. Those who are in power have no interest in actually having something like a diverse IP transit and transport carrier ISP ecosystem (as the US, Western Europe do, take a look at how many carriers and ISPs are connected to the AMS-IX and DE-CIX). They care about their short term personal financial gain.

Politics is never about optimal or about doing what is financially sane. It is about staying in power... We do not elect or raise to power people with the best minds and intentions.

Yes it is malice. There is a joke I find descriptive: " Two young people discuss about their future. One of them says at some point that if they want to make money, it seems their only options are to become a thieves or politicians. The other responds: "Well I want to lead an honorable life, so I guess I will become a thief."

They just don't care to get informed or about the future. Simple. If there were time machines people would be coming back killing politicians en masse.

"results in more economic damage"

That's a cost the people in power are willing to bear; or should I say that's the cost the people in power are willing to offload onto to the powerless as a way to make the powerless have even less power.

Welcome to Africa! This is the sort of shit we have to put up with here.

or uzbekistan, or russia, or vietnam, or cuba, or belarus, or iran, or most small pacific island nation-states... I've worked in African telecom and many countries there are really good examples of the phenomenon but are by no means the only.

Philippines is also another great example.

Maybe the leaders have the opinion that "Internet wars are good, and easy to win."

As someone in IT but not in networking I agree with your sentiments. As an African I have to let you know this is all about keeping the masses in check. The masses don't know enough about the technology to understand that this is a bullshit law. The government will prosecute a couple of high profile people and make it seem that they have more control. The 1-5 percent of us will ignore the law and do our thing but the majority will continue to tow the line. Thus keeping the dictators in power. Its all about power.

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