It was a small mistake with major consequences. According to the BBC, in a domino effect, a decision by Pakistan to block YouTube led to the site being unavailable globally for over an hour yesterday. Reportedly, the country blocked the site because it contained content deemedoffensive to Islam, although no one seemed absolutely certain what that was. Some believed it was because YouTube had the Danish cartoons regarding Muhammad that caused an uproar before, while otherssaid it was because of a trailer for a new film by Dutchman Geer Wilders, which is very negative about the religion. Whatever the root cause, the BBC believes Pakistan Telecom hijacked YouTube’s server address, and passed the details to the country’s ISPs. This meant that whenever a Pakistani user attempted toaccess YouTube, they were re-directed elsewhere. The larger issue appears to have arisen because an engineer at ISP PCCW leaked out information of thehijack, which brought a global block – at least until YouTube engineers informed PCCW of the problem, after which all was corrected. Needless to say, joining the Ban YouTube club –which includes Thailand and Turkey, among others – hasn’t helped the government’s popularity in Pakistan. Wahaj-us-Siraj, convener of the Association of Pakistan Internet ServiceProviders, said, "They [Pakistan’s telecommunications authority] asked us to ban it immediately… and the order says the ban will continue until further notice. Users are quite upset.They’re screaming at ISPs which can’t do anything. The government has valid reason for that, but they have to find a better way of doing it. If we continue blocking popular websites, people will stopusing the internet."
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