Internet Censorship, 2012 Edition

Is it that time of year already? You know, the time of year when someone decides that the solution to all the nation’s problems lies in censoring the internet? As you may have seen, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has issued a Request For Proposals (RFP) for companies to provide national URL filtering and blocking system.

A couple of years ago, when it was judiciary and PTA that had the bright idea of censoring the internet, I wrote that electronic purdah is neither necessary nor workable. Someone at MIB obviously thinks that the solution can be found in a narrow censorship rather than a blanket censorship, but again I think this misses the point. Whatever is on the internet is on the internet, and people who want to find it are going to find a way around whatever filtering software is in place. Just ask the Chinese.

But I’m not going to make technical argument for why this is a silly venture. Instead, I’m going to ask one simple question. Why is the government willing to go to such lengths to censor what people are posting on the internet when this is what they are posting on the streets of Islamabad.

Islamabad poster

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