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[liberationtech] A very happy Censorship and Block to 50 million URLs - National URL Filtering and Blocking System

Fouad Bajwa fouadbajwa at
Thu Feb 23 10:41:57 PST 2012

Pakistan's Great Firewall

So far from what I have researched, the present URL blocking system is
complaint led by Internet users irrespective. The literacy levels and
Internet usage levels of these Internet Users varies broadly and there
is no significant baseline to prove the state of  demographics of the
lodged complaints. From my in depth research of the issue and
consulting authorities, the URL blocking works by Internet Users
filing complaints to the regulator PTA or to the court for any obscene
website or online content. This can be both aware and unaware

These can be both types of citizens that are aware or unawre of their
Human Rights or Privacy issues. They can go to both courts and PTA.
The regulator then has to evaluate and authenticate the content of any
such reported URL/Website and then only can they issue directives to
block access to that website. This original system is very much in
place and is open to all. So far I've been able to conclude that
thousands of websites are blocked with the largest number being of
pornographic content. Violations of HR, FoE etc become secondary in
the regulators evaluation when the complaints are being actually
lodged by individuals that may be aware/unaware of their rights.

So far websites have been blocked in Pakistan for the past 5 years
since 2006 when IPs were blocked for the first time. This affected
hosting servers and ip ranges. Then there was an industry attempt to
remove IP addresses and enable url filtering. Last year the ISPs were
advised to install proxy blocking system.

On the issue of the RFP while reading through the text, there is a
designated company that will be hired, it is not even based on
competition, its all planned out. How will they pay per URL blocking
basis to that company? They are asking for a very huge system, larger
then the Nauras Deep Inspection System already enforced on listening
to Mobile Phone voice calls, SMS messages, blackberry communications,
basically its something defense grade.

This RFP has been supposedly issued without the consent of the
organization's Board consideration and must have been floated by the
CEO though this is not verifiable.

Such a blocking system is already in place. As evident from the text,
this system will include three years operational and maintenance
financial costs which doesn't make sense for a developing country like
Pakistan where the system is already in place. It resembles the same
systems implemented and enforced by some strict middle eastern

The current RFP may be focused at a system to be federally
administered without the intermediary PTA regulator. If this is run
independently, it may be prone to target the political social media
campaigns, election relevant content and expression, freedom of
expression, partisan and bipartisan information, business specific,
organization specific content etc.

There seems to be no reaction so far in the electronic media and this
is definitely an alarming situation. The issue at hand is that this
must be stopped. The amount of money involved is immense. All media
sources should be notified of this activity that may have disastrous
results as this may lead to block of educational content, political


On Thu, Feb 23, 2012 at 5:04 PM, Fouad Bajwa <fouadbajwa at> wrote:
> This may interest many of you to understand how FoE and an open
> Internet is being captured in Pakistan. Feel free to be censored and
> blocked soon.
> This is what happens when corruption and only monetary interests drive
> business and industry. Imagine the companies that will be contributing
> to this process, will they be working in the interest or against the
> interest of the nation?
> --
> Regards.
> --------------------------
> Fouad

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