Pakistan reportedly testing URL filters, may lift YouTube ban

Pakistan reportedly testing URL filters, may lift YouTube ban

Summary: URL filters are said to be in place which will allow government to selectively block sites with controversial content. The Ministry of IT will now reportedly seek approval from the prime minister to lift its YouTube ban.

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The URL filters, provided by Pakistan Telecommunication Company, have already been tested and blocked 4,000 URLs with controversial content.

Pakistan is reportedly testing URL filters and may soon lift its ban on YouTube, after the video sharing site had been banned in the country for almost a year. 

According to ProPakistani on Friday, citing media reports, the country's government now has URL filters which will enable it to selectively block controversial content instead banning the entire service.

The technology is reportedly provided by Pakistan Telecommunication Company, which will provide the services to the government for a year and will charge for the service after this duration. The URL filters are also said to have been tested, blocking a list of 4,000 objectionable URLs.

An inter-ministerial committee will also be responsible for preparing the lsit of blocked URLs, which will be handed over to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority.

The Ministry of IT will also write to the country's prime minister to ask for the blocking of controversial material on YouTube instead of the entire service, and seek an approval for lifting the ban on YouTube. The entire process is expected to take around a week, noted the article.

YouTube has been blocked in Pakistan since September last year, when Google refused to remove a controversial film "The Innocence of Muslims" which offended some Muslims and sparked protests across the Middle East. Back in 2008, Pakistan had blocked YouTube in response to a short film by Dutch member of parliament Geert Wilders, which explored links between Islam and terrorism, but later lifted the ban.

Topics: Censorship, Government Asia

Ellyne Phneah

About Ellyne Phneah

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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