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Friday, December 16, 2016

Kabila’s mandate expiration: DRC set to block social networks

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) may have concluded plans to block social networking websites including Facebook and Twitter, and WhatsApp, before President Joseph Kabila's mandate expires on Sunday’s midnight, reports ITRealms.
The government order to this effect as gathered by ITRealms, was sent to at least three internet service providers (ISPs) and sighted  by correspondent Thursday, indicated that this order will probably hamper the organisation of public protests against Kabila.
According to AFP News Agency, the letter from Congo's Posts and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (ARPTC) requested the "temporary blocking of sharing of images, video and voice [data] over the network" from 11:59pm local time (2259GMT) on Sunday.”
ARPTC, however, did not give its reason for the orders, just as the list of platforms to be blocked was very lengthy, including Skype.
"In cases where partial blocking is not possible, you are required to block access to the relevant social networks entirely," the regulator said.
Text messages will continue to function as normal.
The government's plan was first raised on Tuesday at a meeting of the ARPTC.
"The ARPTC verbally instructed us during the meeting to filter connections on social networks," one internet company executive said, before adding the "trials are likely to be carried out overnight Thursday and Friday".
"We will comply with what has been demanded. It's part of our [legal] obligations," said a manager at one of the affected ISPs.
ITRealms recalls that President Kabila's second term in office would end on Monday, December 19, 2016.


Chuks Egbune/GEE with additional reports by AFP

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