SKYPE HAS been removed from its respective Android and Apple app stores in China, following a crackdown on VoIP services in the country.
According to The New York Times, the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) in China sent notice to Apple that it needed to remove any apps that don't comply with local laws nearly one month ago. So Apple did.
A spokesperson for Apple added that Skype remains available in all other stores in which it was previously available, except China.
The situation with Google is a little more complex, given that Android apps are downloaded from a number of different locations - both within China and beyond.
Nonetheless, those stores - like Huawei's - are also no longer offering the app, and there's no word on when, or if, they'll be re-instated. In January this year, China started making app stores register if they wanted to operate in the country.
The reason behind the block is less clear - while China is known for its authoritarian control of access to the internet and the free flow of information, Skype itself still works in the country for now. You just can't download it or use any paid features.
China had already banned services like WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and a number of other popular social networks and messaging services as part of its wider crackdown on foreign owned services operating in the country - particularly those that offered the opportunity to use end-to-end encryption, such as WhatsApp, as it makes government snooping much more difficult.
In the past, when government rules meant restricted access to services, many users turned to the use of a VPN to get around the The Great Firewall. Now, however, even using a VPN for any purpose whatsoever is illegal in China. µ
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