Pakistan Asking For Proposals On A System That Will Let The Government Censor 50 Million Websites

from the aim-high? dept

A few months back we noted that Pakistan was trying to ban encryption for surfing the internet. Now that they've tackled letting the government spy on everyone, they're tackling the other side of the equation, by very publicly putting out a request for proposal on a system to censor up to 50 million websites. Apparently, when Pakistan wants to censor the internet, it goes big.
Even more ridiculous is that this is coming from an organization who claims its mandate is "to transform Pakistan's economy into a knowledge based economy." Yeah, mass censorship of the internet is not how you do that.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Feb 27th, 2012 @ 8:34am

    Define Knowlege

    Well, maybe they're going for a "knowledge on how to filter the internet" as their primary basis for claiming a "knowledge based economy"...

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2012 @ 9:21am

      Re: Define Knowlege

      I think, rather, they're going for a knowledge-on-how-to-bypass-national-filters-on-the-internet-based economy.

      Who knows, maybe they can sell to the Chinese afterwards...

       

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    silverscarcat (profile), Feb 27th, 2012 @ 8:37am

    Oh, don't worry, I'm pretty sure that Chris Dodd, China, Russia and Iran will submit plenty of ideas to Pakistan soon enough.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2012 @ 8:46am

    So they want to filter out child porn sites and other sites that engage in illegal activity.

    So what?

    Are you saying you support child porn sites and other sites that engage in illegal activity?

     

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      silverscarcat (profile), Feb 27th, 2012 @ 8:49am

      Re:

      Yes, because everyone knows that the government wants to shut down sites that have copyright infringement on them.

       

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        :Lobo Santo (profile), Feb 27th, 2012 @ 8:52am

        Re: Re: ...

        'Copyright infringement' here being defined as: "thoughts or ideas which might foment dissent or discussion which could, in some way, bring change or revolution to the current regime."

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2012 @ 9:11am

        Re: Re:

        Yes, because everyone knows that the government wants to shut down sites that have copyright infringement on them.

        So?

         

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      Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Feb 27th, 2012 @ 8:51am

      Re:

      Well the German filters call Techdirt a child porn site which even you would admit (maybe you wouldn't) that there is no child porn here.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2012 @ 12:09pm

        Re: Re:

        Wait... I knew it was filtered due to being a 'porn' site, didn't think they went so far as to call it a child porn site though.

        Probably for the large reason that a claim like that would certainly be investigated, and the charges found bogus, hence they'd have to remove the filter.

         

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      Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Feb 27th, 2012 @ 8:59am

      Re:

      Taking a quick look (Feel free to ignore my quick research as you probably would anyways), Pakistan's age of consent laws would suggest that this has absolutely nothing to do with child porn. If it has anything to do with porn at all, it would be to block all porn.

      So don't be talking shit if you don't know what you're talking about.

       

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      That Anonymous Coward (profile), Feb 27th, 2012 @ 9:01am

      Re:

      Because claims of filtering child porn out have been historically used to get these sorts of things in place.
      Once in place then they argue they should be used in new and unique ways expanding them massively, often depriving people of access to thoughts someone objects to.
      They will make the list of sites blocked a secret, so no one will every know what is on there, until the day it is leaked and you can find content blocked that according to the rules shouldn't have been blocked. But because it is a secret list, for your own good, you can never see the list and question the reasoning.

      Nice way to trot out the old tired if your against this your for child molesters argument. You seem very focused on those sites, is there something you'd like to tell the class?

       

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      Richard (profile), Feb 27th, 2012 @ 9:06am

      Re:

      They are proposing to censor a priori without any due process. Such a concept has been opposed over the centruroes by the greatest minds - such as John Milton in Areopagita

      Are you opposed to John Milton?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2012 @ 9:12am

        Re: Re:

        Where does it say that there will be no due process?

         

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          Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Feb 27th, 2012 @ 9:35am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Fear of abuse is a valid response to systems like this. Show me one government that has implemented a filter and hasn't abused it. After this much failure, it's only normal to expect failure.

          If they create a filter that is truly not abused, is exclusively for illegal activities in that country, and has a proper appeal process, then good for them. They'll be the first.

           

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          Goyo, Feb 27th, 2012 @ 9:54am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Page 3:

          However, Pakistani ISPs and backbone providers have expressed their inability to block millions of undesirable web sites using current manual blocking systems.

          Unless due process take less time than manually blocking a URL. Well, maybe...

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2012 @ 4:46pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Well they're about to pass the proposal to put it in place that would allow them to censor as many sites as they need and they already have tried in the past to censor sites that seem perfectly legitimate (search 'pakistan' in the search bar'). So why don't you prove to us that it won't be abused?

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2012 @ 10:10am

      Re:

      Are you saying you support child porn sites and other sites that engage in illegal activity?

      More likely just sites with infringing content

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2012 @ 10:11am

      Re:

      Are you saying you support child porn sites and other sites that engage in illegal activity?

      More likely just sites with infringing content

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2012 @ 11:19am

        Re: Re:

        Oh we know Masnick supports piracy sites.

        At this point it's just a sarcastic rhetorical question for the lulz.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2012 @ 4:47pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          At this point it's just a sarcastic rhetorical question for the lulz.


          Sites I don't like = piracy sites that need to be destroyed

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2012 @ 4:51pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Maybe you should submit techdirt to their filter since you have such a massive hard-on for trying to ruin this place.

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2012 @ 4:48pm

        Re: Re:

        Like Techdirt or 50 cents personal blog which had no infringing content on it?

        Keep grasping those straws.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2012 @ 8:52am

    It is rumored that Lamar Smith is suffering severe priapism after being informed of this development.

     

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    Unknown, Feb 27th, 2012 @ 8:54am

    Allow only terrorist sites

    Funny people doing funny proposals :):)

    I think it is step forward to improve their man power in terror activities, because allowing sites like social networking might be wasting their resources !! :)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2012 @ 8:58am

    I don't get it.

    Trying to make a "knowledge economy" doesn't require access to porn sites or such. It doesn't require access to TMZ. If things get filtered out to conform with local law, what is the issue?

    For that matter, how come nobody has been making a big deal out of the middle east, where most countries had have different filters in place since almost the start of the internet?

    Seems like EFF is having a senior moment here.

     

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      silverscarcat (profile), Feb 27th, 2012 @ 9:00am

      Re:

      Perhaps you've missed the part where people keep getting upset and compare filters similar to this to those that are used in the Middle East?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2012 @ 9:13am

        Re: Re:

        So?

        They have their laws and we have ours.

         

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          Goyo, Feb 27th, 2012 @ 9:58am

          Re: Re: Re:

          So yes, many people has been making a big deal out of the middle east, where most countries had have different filters in place since almost the start of the internet.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2012 @ 10:10am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "They have their laws and we have ours."

          Interesting. So when the U.K. and Spain and several other countries have laws that say file sharing is okay, that running and operating such sites (from within said country) is legal and within the bounds of the law, WHAT YOU ARE SAYING IS "they have their laws and we have ours" and we should not meddle?

          Is that correct?

          Or is it "they have their laws and we have ours and when their laws don't conflict with ours in ways we don't like, it's okay", BUT when "they have their laws and we have ours and when their laws allow something that is perfectly legal in their country to happen that we DO NOT approve of/life, well then our laws trump their laws"? Does that about sum up your argument?

          I'm going to assume you're one of the pro-RIAA/MPAA as well as pro-SOPA and all that other nonsense people who comment regularly on here. So by all means, please adequately explain your position. I'm referring to, do our laws apply to us (the United States) and only us, which means other countries can have whatever laws they want? Or is it, other countries can have whatever laws they want til we decide ours trump theirs?

           

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      Richard (profile), Feb 27th, 2012 @ 9:13am

      Re:

      I don't get it.

      You can say that again!

       

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    Howard the Duck, Feb 27th, 2012 @ 9:09am

    One thing...

    One thing though... they are asking the public for proposals. Isn't that at least a step the US should take?

     

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      Edward Teach, Feb 27th, 2012 @ 10:02am

      Re: One thing...

      Arrr, lad, you've made the mistake that the US wants to get the lowest bidder, or even wants more than a single bidder. Shiver me sides, more than one bidder means that Taxpayer's National Security Dollar might not be spent lining a beltway "consulting firm's" pocket. As a pirate meself, I'm familiar with "consulting firm" operations!

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2012 @ 9:13am

    i wonder how long it will take before there is moaning from the US because some of their 'legitimate' sites are blocked?

    or, perhaps, the US will then buy the system from Pakistan and implement themselves? it obviously wont matter whether it works correctly or not, as long as it censors the 'net, it will be ok. sure Lamar Smith will be able to do a deal!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2012 @ 9:29am

    A pair of Scissors seems to be just the technology they're looking for.

     

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    Bengie, Feb 27th, 2012 @ 9:46am

    Simple

    If they don't want the Internet, they should just get rid of it. Problem Solved.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2012 @ 9:57am

    Yeah, mass censorship of the internet is not how you do that.

    Yes it is. That way you control it 100%.

     

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    Rich Kulawiec, Feb 27th, 2012 @ 10:47am

    I'm going to bid on it

    My offering will consist of the following items:

    1. Wirecutters, 1 pair, new
    2. Backhoe (see http://www.23.com/backhoe/), lightly used
    3. Lamar Smith, fully paid off

    I'm reasonably sure that in concert these will provide a complete solution.

     

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    SuperiorAnonymousCoward, Feb 27th, 2012 @ 1:54pm

    Anywhere else (US, canada, uk) I'm against censorship of the internet but places like pakistan I honestly don't give a fuck.

     

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    Stephen, Feb 27th, 2012 @ 3:16pm

    Let's just disconnect Pakistan...

    If we decided to just cut off Pakistan from the rest of the internet, would that make them happy?

    Maybe we should just block all their call centers and see how they like unemployment...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2012 @ 3:59pm

    Economic Mismanagement

    Everybody please note carefully, this proposal to establish a censorship system is being done by the government of an impoverished third world country, which cannot afford to give its own ordinary people things like sewerage, reliable electricity, decent schools, a health system that works, etc. All censorship systems suffer from ongoing high costs caused by ordinary people fighting it, ever-increasing snooping, ever-rising enforcement costs, chilling effects, scope creep, and political arguments.

    It is clear economic mismanagement. Money is fungible. If money is spent on a censorship system then the same money cannot be spent on giving the Pakistani people a decent life. This shows that the present Pakistani politicians do not have the interests of the Pakistani people at heart.

     

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