Pakistan web blocking project 'withdrawn'

Legislator says that Pakistan will abandon attempt to introduce nationwide web filtering and blocking

Tags: CensorshipPakistan
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Pakistan web blocking project 'withdrawn' Pakistan's National ICT R&D Fund had released a request for proposals for an Internet filtering system.
By  Mark Sutton Published  March 20, 2012

The status of Pakistan's project to develop nationwide Internet blocking is unclear, after a legislator reportedly said that plan was being shelved.

Bushra Goha, a member of the Pakistan National Assembly told the Express Tribune newspaper that the Ministry of Information Technology had decided to withdraw the "due to the concern shown by various stakeholders".

Pakistan's National ICT R&D Fund had invited proposals for a national level URL Filtering and Blocking System, with initial proposals due to close on 16th March.

The project, which was similar in scope to the so-called Great Firewall of China or Iran's National Internet, would provide country-wide blocking of ‘undesirable web sites'.

ISPs in Pakistan had said they were unable to block millions of sites using their existing manual systems, therefore authorities had decided to develop an automatic blocking system. The request for proposals said that any new system should be developed within Pakistan and deployed at IP backbones in major cities including Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad, and capable of handling a blocking list of up 50 million URLs in multiple languages.

Pakistan's Ministry of Information Technology is yet to comment on the status of the project.

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