In an ongoing process, Internet Service Providers have been blocking blasphemous websites at URL and IP levels as they are directed by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority.
Just today, ISPs were handed over a list of 550 URLs to be immediately blocked on their networks. These URLs include youtube videos, Facebook groups, fan pages, Google/Bing/Yahoo Search queries, my space communities, couple of Wikipedia articles, couple of dozen blogs and other websites.
This list is likely to re-new everyday, as PTA is continuously monitoring the web for blasphemous content.
ISPs on one hand are complaining about the over head caused due to this practice; while at the same time they fear network latency due to high number of filters on their routers.
On other hands PTA, when asked it said, is following the directive from Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom.
ISPs say their routers have reached the bread limit for filtering the content, “any further burden will get these routers chocked”, said one official while speaking with us.
Moreover, Facebook’s URLs are usually relative (meaning that you don’t get single ultimate URL of one webpage due to its addressing structure) hence are impossible to block.
ISPs want PTA to filter content at centralized and above ISP level so that their networks are not impacted with the blocking procedures.
We know that PTA is already considering filtering data at centralized and country level, but this solution may take some time to get implemented. Meanwhile, ISPs will have to suffer – looks, it’s not far now that ISPs will start protesting over the issue.
It is evident now that Government is not left with much time to devise a plan and ultimately the regulations, concurred by common internet user, ISPs, Civil Society, Ethnic Groups, Minorities, to tackle this new cyber-crisis.