Pakistan & YouTube

UPDATE — In attempting to block access to YouTube, Pakistan ended up making YouTube inaccessible to everyone — not just everyone in Pakistan, but everyone! Martin A. Brown provides some of the technical details and a time line here (Thanks Steven!):

Just before 18:48 UTC, Pakistan Telecom, in response to government order (thanks nsp-sec-d) to block access to YouTube (see news item) started advertising a route for to its provider, PCCW (AS 3491). For those unfamiliar with BGP, this is a more specific route than the ones used by YouTube (, and therefore most routers would choose to send traffic to Pakistan Telecom for this slice of YouTube’s network.

I’ve updated with a screen capture from an ISP in Pakistan from the Don’t Block the Blog Campaign. As noted, since most ISPs route through the Pakistan Internet Exchange which only blocks IP addresses, many users in Pakistan won’t have access to YouTube at all. Users of the ISP TWA appear to have partial access.

The Global Voices Advocacy blog has good coverage of the story and has also posted a copy of the blocking order. (Older blocking orders from Pakistan available here, here and here.) But what I found interesting is that the blocking notice contains a full url to a video and the url in the blockpage is which suggests that while the front matter at may be accessible all the videos are not since they are accessed via /watch?. But perhaps the blockpage is incorrectly printing a partial url, but still, its something worth checking. The proxy is only blocking the targeted video.

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