When Facebook acquired Whatsapp, it really was a humongous bit of news that quite forcefully indicated the progressive way of the way social media networks were being consolidated and taken into the future.
But for residents and social media users in the Middle East, namely the United Arab Emirates, things aren’t looking to be so smooth sailing. Not that there’s a complete blanket ban on major social networking websites as such in the Emirates, but there are certain aspects of a couple of social media websites – read Whatsapp and Skype – that are heavily under the governmental scanner on account of reasons pertaining to lack of adequate security shoring.
But while Skype has been allowed to be utilised across the region in a watershed decision taken by the authorities in April last year, Whatsapp with its proposed feature of similar VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) to be launched is yet to find takers within the governmental offices of the United Arab Emirates.
Though Whatsapp is being extensively used in the region, this proposed new feature is said to be technically flawed making it highly susceptible to hacking threats capable of allowing the cyber-terrorists to get a detailed history of the hacked user’s Whatsapp history. Though reputed security experts believe that since the database for Whatsapp is automatically saved onto the SD card which can be accessed by any Android-based application if the user of the SD card has granted the application to access the said SD Card, this particular security concern can be effectively addressed by ensuring that access permissions for third party apps through the same SD card are vetoed and granted quite carefully.
But despite these clarifications, the security concern of data access continues to hang over the users’ heads like the proverbial Sword of Damocles which in turn has led to UAE governmental authorities still leery of Whatsapp’s proposed VoIP feature, thereby encapsulating their disallowing of the proposed feature in the region.