In name of pandemic Portuguese State can now control citizens’ telecoms access

As part of the latest State of Emergency in Portugal, the State can control citizens’ access to digital platforms, like Netflix, Youtube and gaming sites.

The idea is ‘to protect the State’s critical services’ – namely the electronic communications of hospitals and the Armed Forces – while demand on fixed and mobile networks may be much higher than normal, due to so many people being ‘stuck at home’.

Say reports, the new law came into place at 00.00 hours today (Monday).

“The order and traffic is determined by Government order”, writes Dinheiro Vivo. 

The State will “identify electronic communications services considered critical, and customers considered priority for whom (telecoms) companies must ensure the continuity of services”.

Says the online: “The objective is to prevent the effects of network congestion.

The diploma published by the government today explains that due to “the country returning to live in the context of a public health emergency, aggravated in relation to the previous situation, it is essential to ensure the uninterrupted supply of such critical services to the population in general, generically subject to the situation of permanence in their residences, with direct and significant impact on the management demands of fixed and mobile network capacity supporting electronic communications services”.

What this basically means is that you could be in the middle of a riveting series – or about to win an exhilarating online game – and suddenly be left ‘high and dry’, possibly with an onscreen explanation as to why this has happened, possibly not (that’s not in the diploma).

Explains the nitty-gritty,  ‘priority services’ are not actually just hospitals and the Armed Forces, they extend to:

  • SIRESP (the integrated system of emergency and security networks of Portugal) 
  • MAI (the ministry of interior administration)
  • Civil Protection services 
  • Public services – “especially those involving support” to citizens, like Social Security, IRN (the registries and notaries institute), the government’s own ‘centre of IT management’, Diário da República online, the Agency of Administrative Modernisation, the National Maritime Authority and the National Aeronautic Authority. 
  • ERCS (the press sector’s regulatory entity) 
  • Bank of Portugal 
  • various services and bodies of the Ministry of Education, plus distance learning networks 
  • ‘correspondent services and entities’ supporting the autonomous regions of Azores and Madeira.

All the above are also to receive priority when it comes to “the resolution of faults or disturbances”.

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