Skip to main content

Youtube censorship by Pakistan has global effects

Pakistan is the latest country that is trying to censor content on the Internet. ZDnet reports (opens in new tab), under the header, state sponsored hacking, that the telecom company which manages most of Pakistan's internet traffic closed down the internet for some 'emergency re-routing'.

But Pakistan Telecom's decision caused Youtube to be blocked worldwide and highlights the vulnerability of a website as popular as Youtube, according to the BBC.

The Beeb has (opens in new tab) also Google on records for saying that the outage was due to some erroneous internet protocols caused by one engineer in Pakistan.

On Saturday morning, Pakistan apparently tried to block access to Youtube in order to boycott the site for posting cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed which had caused turmoil in the Muslim world, redirecting the content to more 'appropriate' websites.

It remains to be determined how a seemingly innocuous redirect ended up blacking out Youtube for that long.

Arstechnica's Iljitsch van Beijnum provides with a rather technical explanation of how due to a rule called "longest match first", the redirect might have gone awfully wrong.

According to, Youtube outage lasted a little more than 2 hours on Sunday morning Pacific time.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.