Pakistan yesterday lifted the ban on YouTube that had existed in the country since Friday, and which had caused a global blackout of the Google-owned video-sharing site for a couple of hours following an error. The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority told ISPsthey no longer had to restrict access to the site. The ban had been put in place, it was said, because the site showed material offensive to Islam, which some believed to be a reference to a trailerfor a forthcoming film by Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders. Interestingly, a BBC reporter said that a software company whose material made it possible forpeople in China to access blocked sites saw a spike of Pakistani traffic while the ban was in place. Why was the ban lifted? Early reports were that the so-called offensive material had beenremoved, but those vanished later. So the reason ultimately remains as mysterious as the cause behind the government imposing a ban in the first place. More than that, the global blackout served as areminder that the Web is indeed a fragile thing, although we take its strength for granted. Pakistan is hardly the first country to ban YouTube. Thailand, Morocco and others have done the samein the past.
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