Pakistan, a country which recently placed print ads to recruit non free-speech minded internet professionals for the “development, deployment and operation of a national level URL Filtering and Blocking System,” now says that it has scrapped its idea for the firewall.
The Pakistani plan to block over 50 million URL’s would’ve put it up there with China and its Great Firewall, but Pakistan’s Ministry of Information Technology has indicated that they’ve changed their minds.
The most ambitious net censorship project since China’s Great Firewall is no more: that they are canceling plans for a 50 million+ URL net filtering regime. The announcement was made on Monday by National Assembly member Bushra Gohar in a statement to The Express Tribune newspaper.
“Secretary of Information Technology Farooq Ahmed Awan said to me that the URL project has been withdrawn due to the concern shown by various stakeholders,” according to Gohar. A formal statement of the scrapping of the project is expected to be made at some point today, and the Pakistani Ministry of Information and Technology has neither confirmed or denied these report.
Still, Bolo Bhi, a Pakistani free speech advocacy group, now fears that its government will delve into more underhanded methods of Internet censorship. International organizations including Business Human Rights, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Access Now, and the Global Network Initiative all helped Pakistani activists to protest the proposed firewall.