Pakistan causes global YouTube outage

26 Feb 2008

While banning YouTube is not a new idea, with governments in Turkey, Morocco, Thailand and China all having stopped their citizens accessing the video-sharing site at some point, it has never had ramifications outside of individual countries, until now.

Following on from what it deemed to be ‘blasphemous content’ available on YouTube, the Pakistani government ordered the country’s internet service providers to ban access to the site on Sunday afternoon.

This did not just block Pakistani users from viewing YouTube videos containing anti-Islamic sentiments: it also prevented global access to the site for almost two hours.

In an official statement, the Pakistani authorities said of the video: “It has the potential to cause more unrest and possible loss of life and property across the country.”

While YouTube had already taken the offending video clip down from the site, the Pakistani-wide ban which led to complications for others users worldwide, was not lifted.

“Traffic to YouTube was routed according to erroneous internet protocols and many users around the world could not access our site. We have determined that the source of these events was a network in Pakistan. We are investigating and working with others in the internet community to prevent this from happening again,” commented YouTube in a statement released yesterday.

The fact that the Google-owned video-sharing site could be brought down by a technical error that made its traffic dependant on a dummy web address is something YouTube is now aware of and is trying to correct.

However, the site never referred to the fact it had been banned in Pakistan due to government censorship.

By Marie Boran