Egypt Banned Free Basics on Facebook Because It Could Not Spy

The government of Egypt turned off free Internet Service from Facebook during December of 2015 because the government was not able to spy on different browsing activities of its citizens that used the service.

Free Basics from Facebook is an effort to expand access to Internet to the developing world. It launched in October of 2015 in Egypt and was subsequently suspended on December 30.

Two sources who had knowledge of the negotiations between the government of Egypt and Facebook said that Free Basics had been blocked due to the company not allowing the Egyptian government to circumvent its security on the service to carry out surveillance.

It is not clear what the surveillance access the government of Egypt wanted from Facebook. An Egypt ministry of communications spokesperson said that only Free Basics had been blocked due to it presenting an unfair competition to existing service providers of Internet.

The spokesperson said that the Free Basics service was offered at no cost to consumers, and that the regulator for national telecommunications saw that service as being harmful to businesses and competitors.

Facebook’s Free Basics is no stranger to objections from other nations, as it is seeking to increase in the developing world.

The service was banned in Israel this past February and the service was banned in India following concerns it could infringe on net neutrality.

The program has raised concerns over piracy as well in Angola, where users have found a new way to share content that is copyrighted by uploading to Wikimedia through Free Basics on their portable telephones.

However, Facebook continues to push forward with expansion plans for this service.

It is investing in new mapping technology to find the isolated settlements that do not have Internet.

Facebook also has conducted test flight using a drone that flies high altitude that beams the signals to remote areas.

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