Pakistan, YouTube & The Dutch Politician

0226riots.jpg

How to create an international free speech scandal in five easy steps:

1) If you’re a populist Dutch politician with anti-immigration tendencies, you make a film criticizing the Koran.

2) You post a preview of the movie on YouTube and give it plenty of press.

3) Wait for militant Islamists to protest around the world.

4) If you’re the Pakistani government and are reeling from recent assassinations, riots and a deeply contested election, you decide to block YouTube access from Pakistani IP addresses. You know, just in case the Muhammad cartoons repeat themselves.

5) Except, whoops! You just blocked YouTube access around the world. That’s right: You blocked access to one of the internet’s most widely trafficked sites from Anchorage to Cape Town.

Of course, YouTube’s back up now. But what we’re wondering about are the long-term implications to censorship, information warfare and the rights of individual governments or private entities to interfere with the internet access of residents of other countries.

William Gibson, where the hell are you now?

(Image of Pakistani election riots via Nando Scafroglia/Flickr)