Venezuela Blocks Walkie-Talkie App Zello amid Protests
The efforts to censor the Internet and to keep people in the dark continue in Venezuela
Zello is a smartphone walkie-talkie and CB radio emulator app that works on Android, iOS, Blackberry and Windows PC, as well as other mobile devices. The tool has largely been used during street protests, including in Venezuela and Ukraine.Zello is now reporting that it has detected a block in Venezuela, preventing users from using the tool.
Over the past several weeks, Venezuelan authorities have taken extensive measures against Internet tools, including Twitter, for which they blocked photographs. Since then, Twitter has denied that the issues are in any way connected to its platform and instructed users to sign up for the SMS delivery so that they can be kept in the loop about the latest updates.
In some areas, users are reporting an increasingly slowed down Internet connection during the night, when clashes between protesters and police take place.
Since many in Venezuela were concerned whether Zello was tracking, storing or sharing any location or GPS information of users, the company replied in the negative. “More than likely, locations are being discussed on public channels which is open to everyone. To prevent this risk, always use password-protected or direct one-to-one communications when discussing sensitive information,” Zello advised in a Facebook post.
It wasn’t very long after this that Zello wrote on Twitter that it was getting many reports that the service was blocked in Venezuela and asked people to confirm the issues.
The company later confirmed that many were having trouble accessing the tool, most likely due to the Venezuelan government’s strict grasp on the Internet these days. Zello said, however, that users were able to reconnect using VPN apps.
There are plenty of VPN tools available, both for PCs and smartphones, which means that it shouldn’t be too difficult to find something that works for your device if you’re being blocked off this app.
We get numerous reports that Zello is blocked in Venezuela. Users report success re-connecting using VPN apps.— Zello Inc (@Zello) February 21, 2014