Pakistan warns Google to 'clean' YouTube or face ban

Summary:Country's new minister of state for IT and telecommunications threatens to block all of Google's services if the search giant does not remove "blasphemous and objectionable" on its video sharing site.

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Pakistan's minister of state for IT and telecommunications says if negotiations fall through, the country will block Google.

Pakistan's new IT minister has warnedit would block Google in the country if the company fails to remove "blasphemous and objectionable" material from YouTube.

The country's minister of state for IT and telecommunications Anusha Rahman Khan, made the remarks on her first day in office on Sunday while talking about Pakistan's efforts to end a nine-month ban on YouTube for hosting clips from the controversial anti-Islam film "Innocence of Muslims", The Times of India reported. 

The parent company of YouTube had rejected requests from the previous Pakistan People's Party-led government to remove the objectionable material and Khan said she hoped the company will listen to the new government.

"It all depends on our negotiation clout. If they persist with their stance, we can block Google in Pakistan as a last resort as there are many alternative search engines available on the Web," Khan was quoted as saying in Pakistan news site, The News Daily.

In response to queries, Google told ZDNet Asia it offered localized versions of YouTube with customized content in 56 countries worldwide and abides by the laws and restrict access to videos when notified that it is illegal. 

However, Pakistan was not on the list so it continues to access the global version of YouTube, Google noted.

"It is Google's goal to offer local versions of YouTube to more places worldwide, but it takes time," a Google spokesperson said. "The localization process can be lengthy as we research laws and build relationships with local content creators. Eventually, we hope to be localized everywhere."

"Innocence of Muslims" triggered violent protests by right wing groups across Pakistan and the former government sanctioned a day of protests in September last year. Pakistan then banned YouTube on September 17, 2013 but in January, the country's prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said the government will lift the ban and reopen YouTube after work on a filter mechanism is complete .

Topics: Censorship, Google

About

Elly grew up on the adrenaline of crime fiction and it spurred her interest in cybercrime, privacy and the terror on the dark side of IT. At ZDNet Asia, she has made it her mission to warn readers of upcoming security threats, while also covering other tech issues.

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