Government may set up national internet blocking system

Published: February 25, 2012

The filtering and blocking system will function as a firewall for the entire country and will have the potential to block the access of any specific URL throughout the country.

In yet another move that appears to be aimed towards internet censorship in Pakistan, a government department has called for proposals for the development, deployment and operation of a national level URL Filtering and Blocking System.

The ad had been placed in local papers by National ICT R&D Fund, a division of the Ministry of Information Technology, on February 22, 2012. The proposal request states that each box of the system “should be able to handle a block list of up to 50 million URLs with a processing delay of not more than 1 millisecond.”

The filtering and blocking system will function as a firewall for the entire country and will have the potential to block the access of any specific URL throughout the country.

According to the Request for Proposal available on the ICT R&D Fund website, the system should be capable of filtering and blocking URLs from the domain level to sub-folder, file levels and also specific file types. Additionally, the system should have the ability to block a single IP or a range of IPs.

The proposal states that the solution should be able to handle 85Gbps of bandwidth and should have growth scalability of around 40% to 50% every year.

The government has recently cracked down on content that is deemed offensive, blocking up to over 13,000 pornographic websites and was also considering certain words in SMSs.

The judiciary and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) had taken action against porn websites by blocking or banning access to them in the country, following multiple petitions filed by the citizenry.

Reader Comments (41)

  • Mj
    Feb 25, 2012 - 5:39PM

    Say goodbye to what little freedom of information we have left.

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  • Zeta
    Feb 25, 2012 - 5:46PM

    |Good thing, saudi arabia has it and almost 99.9% porn sites are blocked.

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  • amjid
    Feb 25, 2012 - 5:49PM

    good move to save our young generation

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  • Bhatti
    Feb 25, 2012 - 6:14PM

    Govt. gone mad!!

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  • shahzad
    Feb 25, 2012 - 7:32PM

    yes this is good step taken by the govt.pron websites should be ban in a Islamic country like Pakistan carry on this is the positive process to controlling the pron-sites

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  • Taabi
    Feb 25, 2012 - 8:06PM

    Now establishment can control even internet to facilitate next martial law. We asked freedom, they gave this sheer slavery!

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  • yasir bukhari
    Feb 25, 2012 - 8:13PM

    It is an excellent step taken by this useless govt. It will help to protect minds of millions of Pakistani youth who are wasting their time watching porn in internet clubs across the country. Well done to govt.

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  • Chulbul Pandey
    Feb 25, 2012 - 8:26PM

    At first, I misread the headline to be – Government may set up national internet Banking system. That seemed like too sane thinking for Pakistani Govt.

    I had to read it again… correctly this time. Banning Internet? Now, thats Pakistan we all know :D

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  • Pakistani
    Feb 25, 2012 - 8:43PM

    50 Million URLs with 1ms delay. Makes sense!

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  • umair
    Feb 25, 2012 - 8:48PM

    Awesome move by the government . We are with you in this . . .
    Porn even ruins most stable societies in the world . It is bad for our society specially for youth and our islamic culture :) .

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  • Atheist, India
    Feb 25, 2012 - 8:51PM

    Congratulations, your friendship with china is really growing on you.

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  • mustafa
    Feb 25, 2012 - 8:57PM

    Now all the liberals and porn lovers will jump in screaming about freedom of access to information but they forget their ethical values that term porn and adult material as taboo, and how would they like their own children watching porn..

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  • talha
    Feb 25, 2012 - 8:58PM

    what kind of tyrannical rule are we heading to. This is indeed a step towards anti-development, an unfortunate step taken in the wrong direction. Such censorship will not hold and nor should it ever be the basis of limiting control and freedom of information of anykind.

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  • Mir
    Feb 25, 2012 - 9:11PM

    so the next step will be state controlled media, are we moving towards democracy or aristocracy?

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  • Feb 25, 2012 - 9:11PM

    this is really a greater step to save our new generation so we request all the boys and girls must support it to take part in this great decision of our government thanks join me on facebook

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  • Jawad Ahmad
    Feb 25, 2012 - 9:20PM

    O come on My government . I don’t know why these officials always think blocking or banning something . Why they don’t think that there are lot of things that we still don’t have in this modern era of technology . What would you say about PayPal ? The whole world have this great facility to transfer money anywhere they want in just few second . We still don’t have it . Why we don’t have this facility ? Who is responsible for it ?
    I request my government to think about these things . The more you block or ban the things the more people will try access that thing .

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  • Mir
    Feb 25, 2012 - 9:31PM

    so the next step will be to control social websites, blogs, online news and then ultimately free media. Are we moving towards democracy or aristocracy and autocracy?

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  • Meerza
    Feb 25, 2012 - 10:09PM

    Ha ha ha,
    Hmm, i know of some friends who may as well be stocked with DVDs, Cds& even VHS cassettes for the rainy days.
    I have no worries.
    LMAORecommend

  • Feb 25, 2012 - 10:15PM

    Ant-Pakistan and porn sites must be blocked, they don’t even fall in freedom of speech

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  • Feb 25, 2012 - 10:22PM

    I work in IT and it is impossible to check 50 million records in 1 millisecond.

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  • whatever
    Feb 25, 2012 - 10:51PM

    George Orwell must be rolling in his grave.

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  • Discostu
    Feb 25, 2012 - 10:52PM

    What is wrong with porn? If people want to watch it what is the big deal? And this is a very slippery slope. Who defines porn? I am sure very soon they will ban Michealangelo’s David as well. Recommend

  • Mir
    Feb 25, 2012 - 11:24PM

    this will lead to blocking social networking site, blogs, online news, and ultimately banning news channels. Wake up before democracy turns into aritocracy.

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  • Dali
    Feb 25, 2012 - 11:26PM

    One word TOR – ?? >:D

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  • Feb 25, 2012 - 11:28PM

    LOL! They are so afraid of Ali Sina’s website?

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  • shikari
    Feb 26, 2012 - 12:08AM

    If the purpose is to make access to questionable material harder then it may work but it cant be blocked completely as there are ways around these things. I would rather spend this funding on more useful endeavours

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  • Huma
    Feb 26, 2012 - 12:25AM

    @bangash…. good to know

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  • Noble Tufail
    Feb 26, 2012 - 10:01AM

    blocking / shelter seeking mindset VS facing the realities …. make the choice

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  • Dr. Kamran
    Feb 26, 2012 - 10:27AM

    Yes they are spending 10 million dollars in blocking pornographic contents in the so called Islamic welfare state of pakistan, where the rape incidents are very high in those areas who rarely watches porn on the internet, the feudals who never watches porn uses village girls as slaves, why not banned them (in the muslim state)

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  • Just Curiuos
    Feb 26, 2012 - 10:53AM

    Is the Pakistan Government also going to block access to Islamic Extremist websites,
    or will these sites still be accessible??

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  • John B
    Feb 26, 2012 - 11:03AM

    Why don’t you guys just cut the internet pipeline. That is much simpler.

    Insanity.

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  • MarkH
    Feb 26, 2012 - 11:04AM

    Not sure how it sounds like they’re selling some new and improved special thing. They’re twisting old technology. People will find ways around it, anyways. Try something productive like raising your children to not desire to see those sites and also reject them outright. It’ll work wonders. No overpaid computer programmers ripping off old things calling it original, no looking stupid. It’s all win.

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  • Omar Bajwa
    Feb 26, 2012 - 11:35AM

    Dear Government of Pakistan

    I have the following proposals for this that are cheaper, effective and ultimately of extreme benefit to the country:

    Drop this idea of censoring internet. It does not work and any attempts to block some sites slow down the entire internet access in Pakistan. Not doing any censorship will be free. By not slowing down internet, there will be avoidance of loss of millions of rupees daily to businesses that rely on internet for productivity. I promise not to charge anything for this valuable advice.
    Dismiss all government officials and judges that have participated in this farce. You can cite mental deficiency. It will work in the Federal Public Services Commission for a reason for dismissal. Surely anyone can vouch today that seeking blocking internet in today’s day and age is a reflection of mental deficiency. By removing these persons, the nation will save millions of rupees in salaries and benefits to persons who clearly are not capable of holding high office and are causing mayhem in the offices they work. Their absence will also improve the efficiency of government functions, leading to double savings.
    If you want fewer Pakistanis to spend time on internet porn, please stop killing businesses with regressive taxes and other tactics. These businesses create jobs which keep people working with less time for internet porn.

    Humbly submitted with respect

    Omar Bajwa

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  • Parvez
    Feb 26, 2012 - 3:29PM

    Someone will make money out of this for sure. We can’t even maintain simple CCTV cameras for security. The concept is flawed and suspect.

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  • Kamran Paracha
    Feb 27, 2012 - 8:01AM

    They need to implement a character filter over office bearers. Simply block the inefficient and corrupt!

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  • Faiz Kazi
    Feb 28, 2012 - 3:43PM

    I am going to buy a VPN and keep surfing the internet free of such measures, in fact there are already free VPN providers out there and no one needs to feel blocked. The problem is not with blocking porn, the problem is capability to block things other then porn and using that capability to undermine the voices of a nation.

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  • Anonymous
    Feb 28, 2012 - 9:08PM

    This development is only a good thing–they are not going to be blocking anymore websites than they already have. Automating the process that will have a 1ms delay will mean much faster latencies to servers outside Pakistan. Currently, the PTA filtering servers are taking at least 40-50ms for every packet making it difficult to to play games. Imagine pinging 100ms to Europe after this is implemented.

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  • Feb 29, 2012 - 1:03AM

    Gutter tou saaf hotay nai hai government seh, internet ko kya saaf karenge!

    In English : The government can’t clean the sewage’s and dirty roads, how are they gonna clean the ‘internet’.Recommend

  • Mar 3, 2012 - 5:46PM

    It is good to see such encouraging efforts.many isps have blocked some inappopriate sites which generate a lot of traffic.but the fact remains.there are numerous softwares available by which you can access restricted sites.people in middle east use it.a video was uploaded on youtube with reference to how to access blocked sites in pakistan.and my isp has blocked that video as well.

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  • Mar 5, 2012 - 7:31PM

    I am nit against blocking porn but this technology will be abused in future to suppress the voice of nation.

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  • Fahd Ali Raza
    Mar 15, 2012 - 4:00PM

    Banned Internet, meh! Don’t worry the large multinational internet service providers won’t let this happen. This is multi billion rupee industry. Who do you think is more interested in a free internet, someone who earns a million a day, or someone who pays rs. 1500 a month?
    Take it easy.

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