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Pakistan Takes Out YouTube

Peer Pressure
Peer Pressure
Peer Pressure
2/25/2008

10:45 AM -- If you were trying to have any fun at all on the Internet yesterday, you might have noticed that YouTube Inc. was down for nearly two hours during the prime-time hangover-recovery period from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM EST. (Certain sources on the West Coast report that it was simply too early for many of them to notice, as they were either not yet awake or had not had their first cup of coffee at that hour.)

Now news agencies are reporting that the outage, which caused serious spasming and gnashing of teeth in Internet junkies all the world around, was the result of "erroneous internet protocols" sourced in Pakistan.

Apparently Pakistan decided it wanted to block the file-sharing site due to "blasphemous" content that could invade the minds of its citizens, causing certain Pakistani residents to be nearly as foul-mouthed and dirty-minded as the rest of us.

The plan worked -- in fact, it worked too well. Not only did Pakistan Telecommunication Co. Ltd. and PCCW Ltd. (NYSE: PCW; Hong Kong: 0008) effectively keep all local residents from accessing the mind-numbing goodness to be found on YouTube, but it ruined the fun for all the rest of us as well.

For all intents and purposes, this looks like it was simply a screw-up by someone not aware of how much global carnage could be caused by incorrect routing tables, etc. BBC News reports a leading net professional -- whatever that means -- as saying: "This was probably a simple mistake by an engineer at Pakistan Telecom. There's nothing to suggest this was malicious."

The BBC also reports that the routing problem was corrected soon after someone from YouTube called up (and presumably chewed out) the proper authorities at PCCW.

But all of this makes me suspicious of the precarious nature of the global Internets. After all, if some Homer Simpson-esque Pakistani engineer can ruin my YouTube user experience due to a highly farcical misdirection of routing tables, just think of what a real villian -- one with Dr. Evil-sized ambitions of torture, perhaps -- could do if he wanted to take down YouTube himself.

Because presumably he wouldn't play nice the way the (hugely humbled and) nice people at PCCW did.

— Ryan Lawler, Still Shaking at the Thought of No YouTube, Light Reading

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