Pakistan web users get round YouTube ban

27 Feb 2008

The ban on YouTube within Pakistan may finally be lifted but figures from a Silicon Valley software firm suggest thousands of users did not appreciate the block and simply found a way around it.

US software firm AnchorFree, which offers wireless marketing services as well as free-to-download software Hotspot Shield, found a 1,300pc increase in usage of this software within Pakistan while the YouTube ban was in place.

“We’ve seen usage increase from 250 daily sessions from Pakistan to up to 3,254 daily sessions and rising,” Dennis Hiller, spokesperson for AnchorFree, told

Hotspot Shield is a software programme that enables users to create a virtual private network (VPN) from their laptop to a wireless internet service, allowing them to remain anonymous and preventing outside viewers from scanning email or instant messages.

Irate YouTube users within Pakistan were most likely using this software to get to the popular video-sharing site. “Either that or this is a huge coincidence,” added Hiller.

YouTube now appears to be back online in Pakistan after the Google-owned site removed the offending clip, leaving the message that it has been taken down on ethical grounds.

By Marie Boran