Venezuelan Regulator Censors DolarToday Exchange-Rate App

DolarToday’s coverage of the Venezuelan bolívar’s perilous decline in value has not impressed the nation’s Communications Commission, which blocked the site’s mobile application on Thursday, March 12. (PanAm Post)

EspañolDolarToday reports the floating, black-market exchange rates of the Venezuelan bolívar, and President Nicolás Maduro has declared this alleged crime an “economic war” against the socialist nation. For more than a year the National Telecommunications Commission (Conatel) has censored the website, and today at around 4:30 p.m. local time they upped the confrontation by blocking the DolarToday mobile-phone application (app).

Both the website’s official Twitter account and information-technology reporter Fran Monroy Moret have via Twitter confirmed and denounced the censorship. “Censorship in all its forms is abominable,” Monroy Moret tweeted.

“We confirm that the ‘app’ is effectively blocked … and in that manner hundreds of apps and sites that use ‘the cloud’ of Amazon S3.”

Both sources were quick to point out that there was immediate and widespread collateral damage. The action to block DolarToday’s app inadvertently blocked many other apps and important social-media websites such as Snapchat and Pinterest, those using the Amazon hosting service.

Perhaps because this was an error, Conatel released the block on the DolarToday app within about an hour — confirmed by users via Twitter at 5:57 p.m. Further, other sites had already begun mirroring the DolarToday content to allow users to circumvent the censorship.

DolarToday has drawn particular attention in the past two weeks, given turmoil and severe devaluation of the Venezuelan bolívar, which now sits at 274 per US dollar. That is weakened from 100 in late September and 200 in late February.

Source: El Nacional.

Update: March 12, 11:30 p.m. EDT.

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