Pakistan blocks YouTube
And world loses access for an hour
Updated: Pakistan became the latest nation to block access to YouTube, although much of the country has now had access restored.
The plug was pulled late last week by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, but mistakes over the weekend meant the site was blocked worldwide for more than an hour on Sunday, the BBC reports.
Reports suggested that the PTA ordered all ISPs in the country to block access because: "The ratio of non-Islamic objectionable videos has increased on it." The BBC reports that the blocking of YouTube's IP address was then passed onto other ISPs around the world, resulting in a global outage.
A spokeswoman for the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority told the Register: "We only implement the policy set by the Ministry of Information Technology. On Friday we wrote to ISPs asking them to block YouTube as requested by the Ministry."
The video hosting site has been blocked by countries before - by Turkey for videos that insulted the country's founding father Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, by Thailand for rude content about the king, and in Morocco for hosting content about Western Saharan independence.
Wahaj us Siraj, convener of the Association of Pakistan Internet Service Providers, said: "YouTube is available again now. It was blocked because of videos depicting humiliation of the Prophet that were blasphemous in nature."
Siraj explained that the two main backbone providers in Pakistan were dealing differently with the problem - TWA is routing traffic to a proxy then filtering for the specific URL of the offending videos, but PTCL (Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited) is unable to filter such URLs so has just blocked the whole website.
Anyone in Pakistan trying to access YouTube via the TWA backbone, about 40 per cent of the population, should have access to the site apart from the pages considered by authorities to be offensive.
The site was originally blocked in its entirety by both providers.
Asked if the blockage was really about religion or if politics may have played a role, Siraj told the Reg: "There have been rumours. On Thursday local TV showed some allegations of poll rigging (Pakistan's presidential election was last week), some of this was uploaded onto YouTube and the ban came on Friday. But this is just a hoax, the problem with the videos had been known for some time."
The problem spread beyond Pakistan when YouTube was blocked across the world for more than an hour. It seems this was caused by a vulnerability with how internet routing tables deal with IP numbers. Ars Technica has more here. ®
Tolerate all those who tolerate tolerance!
The highly simplistic diatribe of some reg commentators, on Pakistan riddled with so many judgmental assumptions and the oh-so superior air of secular liberalism or civility is a little puke-worthy. There are so many presumptions about the nature of the Pakistani government, Pakistani society, and religious people in general I don't know where to begin, except to say that a real rational intellectual being does not use 'personality assassination' tactics against another ideology to undermine or smear it rather than actually dealing with the point at hand. Musharraf's Pakistan has not exactly been a bastion or defender of Islam, or Muslim people, he is an outright dictator who rigs elections; was installed and is supported by the Americans for the potential oil & oil transit revenues from the Baluchistan province. The Pakistan government commonly uses knee-jerk pseudo-religious tactics to divert attention away from real political problems - in this case videos about the rigged elections. There will be a clash of civilisations unless we in the west (not to mention people in the 3rd world) stop assuming that our values are objective, universal, rational, or the measure of civilisation. People treat freedom of speech like it's a universally accepted idea, sacred, and a divine obligation from god to always exercise to the furthest extent even if it serves no other purpose but causing trouble. Fundamentalist Muslims (contrary to media sensationalism) are open to criticism & discussion, but we (on the other side) can't start any discussion when one side assumes the parameters and barometer of truth are "core values" which are not up for question, e.g. libertarianism, free speech, & secularism, or the assumption that religion has to always measure up to these. For a start does free speech mean YouTube should allow Nazi propoganda? Does free speech mean allowing slander, libel, false accusation, or defamation? Propaganda for the Tamil Tigers (AKA LITE), Shiv Sena, Al-Qaida or ETA? Do we really have free speech anywhere? There are so many restrictions: privacy laws, OFCOM regulations, race relations laws, the press complaints commission, the official secrets act, and many more acts of law place responsible restrictions on freedom of speech. As one reg commentator said, there is a difference between rational criticism, and simply blatant abuse, or attack. Retorting "freedom of speech" is not a panacea for these problems, nor an argument in itself, nor a way to endear people to the idea of freedom speech, people need convincing not patronising postulation.
For the record I am not Pakistani, although it shouldn't matter even if I was!
Cheap shot, Ser Blisset.
Anonymity isn't to avoid criticism. I could just not come back to the thread if i didn't want to see criticism. And no handle on here is actually verifiable, so even a name can be assumed to be "anonymous".
I have curtains. Do you not?
More details on the block
According to the senior official at the authority, the clip in question was about a soon-to-be released film made by Dutch politician Geert Wilders, whose outspoken comments against Islam have made him a target of protests in the Muslim world and elsewhere.
It's "steal this book" season again.
Dutch nut wants movie pirated in Islamic world to cause riots to drum up sales.
Sty wants Rambo pirated in Burma to promote freedom.
Bollywood wants their films pirated in Pakistan to promote sales to ex-pats in Europe.
Microsoft wants their software pirated in emerging markets to head off Linux.
Is there a single content creator left in the world who doesn't have a marketing plan based on getting themselves ripped off?
Paris, because she started all of this with her direct-to-DVD offering.