The world was cut off from YouTube and Pakistan was cut off
from the world, due to a series of mistakes in handling Pakistan’s decree to
block the popular video-sharing site.
It all started on Sunday, when Pakistani officials announced
that the country will begin censoring YouTube,
citing videos considered blasphemous to the country’s Islamic values.
to Information Week, Pakistan’s ISPs were given immediate
orders to block the popular video-sharing site. One such ISP, PieNet, blocked YouTube
in such a way that requests to the site were routed to a webpage that they saw
fit. Trouble set in afterwards, when the block was propagated to Hong
Kong-based telecom provider PCCW. Technical errors caused PCCW’s changes to propagate
throughout the entire world, sending the world’s YouTube requests to PieNet’s
Details of what happened next are unclear, but it appears PCCW
spotted the error and saw fit to cut off Pakistan’s internet access until it
resolved the issue.
“The leadership of Pakistan just created a massive Denial of Service [attack] on their
own country,” wrote blogger Richard Stiennon in ZDNet’s Threat Chaos.
According to YouTube parent Google, problems lasted for “about
“Traffic to YouTube was routed according to erroneous
internet protocols, and many users around the world could not access our site,”
said Google in a statement, noting that it is “working with others in the
internet community to prevent this from happening again.”
Speaking with the BBC, an unnamed networking expert thinks
the blackout was “probably a simple mistake made by an engineer … there’s
nothing to suggest this was malicious.”