Monday, 24 May 2010

Pakistan and the cyber-jihad?

Wow, I have been out of touch with current events and have been playing catch up a little. I just read about Pakistan's own ISP PieNet taking down youtube. Apparently there has been a big battle of wills between the Pakistani government and sites like youtube, facebook, and our own beloved blogger.com. Well the Pakistani government mandated that these sites be blocked. So PieNet decided to send out BGP announcements for youtube, redirecting traffic to themselves....brilliant. aside from the stupidity of this approach( as they slammed themselves with all of the youtube traffic and then got cutoff by their upstream provider) this is pretty amazing. I am not aware of anything quite like this incident happening before.

An actual legitimate ISP has blatantly and purposefully launched a denial of service attack on one of the biggest sites on the Internet, over their views on censorship. They are basically committing an act of cyberwarefare in the closest sense that the term can be applied. Cyberwarfare, in my opinion, can't really be a part of true physical conflict. It is exactly this kind of scenario, a war of ideas. Pakistan's policy has become one of attacking the largest and easiest providers of free expression to the masses. A lot of these countries have always censored heavily, and done horrible things to keep the truth hidden. This is the first time i can think of where they do it on a global scale though. What happens if we see this behaviour continue? What are the large scale implications for the internet as a whole? There's some heavy stuff going on here. I will need more time to digest it all. In the meantime, what does everybody else think?

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