London, Feb 25: Pakistan's attempts to block access to YouTube has been blamed for an almost global blackout of the video website for more than an hour on Sunday. Reports said Pakistan made the move because YouTube content included Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad that have outraged many.
But one report said a trailer for a forthcoming film by Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders, which portrays Islam in a negative light, was behind the ban. According to the BBC, the outage was almost certainly connected to Pakistan Telecom and Asian Internet service provider PCCW. Pakistan ordered Internet service providers to block the site because of content deemed offensive to Islam. The BBC claimed Pakistan Telecom "hijacked" the web server address of the popular video site. Those details were then passed on to the country's Internet service providers so that anyone in Pakistan attempting to go to YouTube was instead re-directed to a different address.
But the details of the "hijack" were leaked out into the wider Internet from PCCW and as a result Internet service providers around the world mistakenly blocked YouTube. The block on the servers was lifted once engineers at YouTube had told PCCW of the issue.
Users were quite upset with the blocking of the website. IP hijacking involves taking over a web site's unique address by corrupting the Internet's routing tables, which direct the flow of data around the world.
"They [Pakistan's telecommunications authority] asked us to ban it immediately... and the order says the ban will continue until further notice," said Wahaj-us-Siraj, convener of the Association of Pakistan Internet Service Providers. Users were quite upset with the blocking of the website.