The government in Islamabad told internet service providers (ISPs)
on Friday that the video shating website was off limits to nationals due
to content deemed to be offensive to Islam.
The authority has not specified what the offending material was, but
an official said it concerned a trailer for an upcoming film by Dutch
politician Geert Wilders. He has said he plans to release an anti-Koran
movie, portraying the religion as fascist and prone to inciting
violence against women and homosexuals.
The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority told 70 ISPs in the
country to block access to the popular website until further notice.
Web surfers in the UK were among those hit by a YouTube blackout blamed on Pakistan’s attempt to block access to the site.
But experts believed that attempts by at least one provider to
comply with the ban resulted in users around the world being blocked on
Sunday by mistake.
It is thought that a two-hour global YouTube “outage” was connected
to attempts by Pakistan Telecom and ISP PCCW to comply with the demand.
To block access to the site, the Government would have told ISPs to
stop users accessing YouTube’s web server address. To do this they may
have “hijacked” the IP address and redirected users to another address.
As a result, other providers mistakenly banned users from YouTube
either by thinking that the site was being legitimately banned or by
directing users to the hijacked address, computer experts have
suggested. The block on international servers ended when engineers at
YouTube contacted PCCW, it has been reported.