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Saudi Arabia Twitter

Saudi Arabia may try to end anonymity for Twitter users


By Jennifer Faull, Deputy Editor

March 31, 2013 | 2 min read

Saudi Arabia is seeking to end anonymity for Twitter users, the Arab Daily News has reported.

The government is looking to limit access to those who register with their identification documents, and has been asking telecom companies to look at ways they could monitor, or block, free internet phone services such as Skype.

The reports come following comments made by security spokesman for Saudi Arabia's Interior Ministry. He described social networking, particularly Twitter which is highly popular with Saudis, as a tool used by fighters to stir social unrest.

An article from Arab News claimed: "A source at (the regulator) described the move as a natural result of the successful implementation of (its) decision to add a user's identification numbers while topping up mobile phone credit."

Currently, that does not make a user’s identity visible to other users of the site, but it would mean the Saudi government could monitor the tweets of individual Saudis.

One of the big investors in Twitter is Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a nephew of King Abdullah who also holds significant stakes in Citi Group, News Corp and Apple through his Kingdom Holding Company. He has not commented on the reports.

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