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July 24, 2009

SKYPE News - Report: Skype to be Limited in Russia

By Amy Tierney, TMCnet Web Editor

Skype, an online videoconferencing service provider, may be banned from use in Russia after a group found that the service is cutting in on the interests of Russian cellular operators.

The Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs said it has concerns about Skype (News - Alert) and Internet telephony in its nation and reportedly formed a group to prepare proposals for legislative control over IP activities in Russia, Pravda.Ru said.
One argument for such a restriction is that telephone conversations via Skype can’t be wiretapped. RUIE has high hopes the government will support that fact in its quest to limit the service.
The questions of IP telephony development in Russia arose at a meeting of the commission on telecommunications and information technologies of the RUIE, Pravda.Ru said. As a result, the commission concluded that IP telephony in Russia is not subjected to legal regulation, and must be corrected, the report said.
And there’s another reason. Representatives for cellular companies alerted RUIE that Skype doesn’t pay any taxes in Russia, according to Pravda.Ru.
The RUIE commission has reportedly formed a group to prepare proposals for legislative control over IP activities in Russia.
Russia isn’t the only nation with concerns about Internet phone calls. Italian police raised issues that members of criminal groups use Skype very often to confuse investigations, Pravda.Ru reported.
Skype lets users make telephone calls over the Internet. Calls made to other users of the service are free. While there is a fee to make calls to landlines and mobile phones, the free VoIP service is catching on.
The company recently made headlines when it urged European regulators to take action to make sure that users aren't prevented from using their mobile devices to access cheaper phone calls made through the Internet. The move came asEuropean officials are monitoring mobile phone operators that attempt to exclude Internet telephony services, such as Skype, from being accessed on their networks, TMCnet reported.

Amy Tierney is a Web editor for TMCnet, covering unified communications, telepresence, IP communications industry trends and mobile technologies. To read more of Amy's articles, please visit her columnist page.

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