Pakistan YouTube block causes global problems

01:43, Jan 31 2009

An effort by Pakistan's government to block its citizens from accessing YouTube yesterday caused an outage in the video-sharing website that affected most of the world.

70 Pakistani internet providers were ordered to block YouTube access because it showed cartoons which were deemed offensive because of their depiction of the Islamic prophet Mohammad, as well as trailers for an upcoming Dutch film portraying Islam as as a religion that is prone to encourage violence against women and homosexuals, the Associated Press reported.

The block was meant to cover Pakistan alone, but Pakistan's clumsy implementation meant it affected two-thirds of world's internet population, particularly in Asia, where the Google-owned service was down for about two hours starting at about 8am Monday morning New Zealand time, AP reported.

There were no reports of users in New Zealand being affected.

Analysts blamed the outage on Pakistan Telecom, which sent domestic requests for YouTube data into oblivion, then published these routes to its international carrier, PCCW, one of the world's 20 largest data carriers. PCCW passed the route to other international carriers, who began directing their international YouTube requests to oblivion as well, AP reported.

The problem has raised fears about the security and reliability of the global internet.