Apple’s FaceTime service now blocked in Kingdom

The FaceTime logo
Updated 07 July 2016
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Apple’s FaceTime service now blocked in Kingdom

RIYADH: The communication authority and the companies working in the Kingdom have blocked the FaceTime communication service for users of Apple mobile devices.
FaceTime is a free audio visual communication service on Apple devices for which many Saudis were opting to purchase new units from abroad, as it was available only in those editions available outside the country. But the blocking of FaceTime on Apple phones purchased abroad has taken many users by surprise.
Saudi netizens have contacted Apple through Twitter, enquiring about the blocking of the service. The response was that it was blocked by the Kingdom’s telecommunication authority and not the company.
The users of FaceTime have expressed their disappointment on social media. They said that the decision to block FaceTime didn’t have any logic. Several other such services have also been blocked and they still work in most countries. They have demanded that an enquiry should be made to learn the reason behind the blocking and who benefits from the decision. They have also urged the concerned authorities to restore the service.
Asif Al-Murshidi, a researcher in new technology and a developer, said: “FaceTime is an advanced service of Apple. It gives users the facility to talk in audio and video free of cost on mobile data or Wi-Fi. The blocking of this service will result in dependence of users on normal communication tools. It makes it clear that the communication and information technology authority was working hand in glove with the companies which were trying to force customers to use normal communication methods. They are not bothered about improving the service they provide.”
He said: “The decision to block such programs does not do justice to the citizen. Talking on paid services is costly, particularly when you are talking to parties abroad. It is needed by the parents and relatives of the huge number of Saudi students abroad.”


Saudi Hajj Ministry issues new web link for Qatari pilgrims after Doha blocking

Updated 20 July 2018
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Saudi Hajj Ministry issues new web link for Qatari pilgrims after Doha blocking

  • The new link was made available as part of King Salman’s efforts to facilitate the arrival of all pilgrims
  • The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said it welcomes the arrival of Qatari pilgrims this year irrespective of the on-going Gulf dispute

RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah announced that is has allocated a new website link to receive the requests of Qataris who wish to perform Hajj after the Qatari authorities blocked the old one.
Qataris wishing to perform Hajj can use the following link: https://qh1.Hajj.gov.sa instead of the old one (https://qh.Hajj.gov.sa), Saudi Press Agency reported.
The new link was made available as part of King Salman’s efforts to facilitate the arrival of all pilgrims and ensure that any obstacles that they may face are overcome.
The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said it welcomes the arrival of Qatari pilgrims this year irrespective of the on-going Gulf dispute.
Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE — collectively known as the Anti-Terror Quartet — imposed a boycott on Qatar in June 2017 over Doha’s alleged ties with terror groups. Doha denies the charges.