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.