It is unfortunate that inept ISPs have gained the power to disrupt businesses and create massive inconvenience. We have seen that happen in India recently when ISPs blocked entire web domains though the government /court orders required them to limit access to a single youtu.be URL.
Something similar is happening in our neighborhood Pakistan where PTA, the telecom authority, has been randomly blocking Google websites – like Google Drive, Analytics, Maps, Google Play Store and even Google Apps – though the Supreme Court had ordered them to only block the anti-Islam videos on YouTube.
An Android developer complained that he was unable to update his Twitter app as Google Play store was blocked in the country. Jawwad Farid has written an open letter to Google asking them to fix differences with the government as the ban affects everyone who depends on Google products for a living.
..250,000 active loyal customers can no longer access your products in Pakistan. Analytics, webmaster and Adwords accounts have slowed to a crawl. Gmail can no longer be accessed on our android devices. Docs, Apps and Play are dead in the water.
Jawwad told me on Twitter that it is more a “war of will between PTA, Google & Pakistan’s Interior ministry” and that freelancers in Pakistan are the biggest affected segment. The Google Analytics service was blocked too and, as a result, any website that used the Analytics code for tracking (non-asynchronously) would take forever to load inside Pakistan.
A (laughable) petition recently filed in the Supreme Court argues that Google is unlawfully using the name ‘Pakistan’ on its web portal though the company “does not have any agreement or legal permission from Pakistan for conducting business operations here.”
Google users in Pakistan have taken to Twitter to vent their displeasure.
Google Play!For next 5 days apps for 25c only. yay!! we got noobs at PTA who don’t know which url 2 block n which 2 not.
— Awais (@Awais16) September 26, 2012
Someone elaborate to me what kind of *** work for #PTA .. YouTube and Google services aren’t responsible for people being f**tards.
— Minerva (@MhwshB) September 29, 2012
Which moron is responsible for blocking Google developer APIs in #Pakistan? #PTA #Pasha #Pissedoff
— Umair Aziz (@Umair_Aziz) September 28, 2012
PTA have blocked play.google.com i.e. Google Play Store, probably these idiots can’t simply block youtube? #Pakistan
— BaburYaqub (@BaburYaqub) September 26, 2012
Dumb heads of PTA. code.google.com is also blocked. What the hell!
— Mohsin Hijazee (@MohsinHijazee) September 25, 2012
SO no google docs, drive and an analytics that’s working spotty at best. Oh PTA your face is haram.
— iMbet OCsalev (@imbetdotcom) September 23, 2012
These idiots don’t even know how to block a website. Most of #Google web properties are sluggish or not working at all. #Pakistan #PTA
— Asad Memon (@asadmemon) September 25, 2012
Dear #PTA, You suck! Sincerely, A Google Docs User #YouTubeBanIssues
— Nabeel Khalid (@nubeals) September 24, 2012
Now, what the hell has Google Docs to do with blasphemy?Why the heck has PTA blocked it?
— Usman Qazi (@UsmanQazi1) September 25, 2012
Is Google Docs/Drive also banned in Pakistan? Trying to share this form with my book club & it isn’t working for some
— Chalo ji. (@guldaar) September 25, 2012
Dear PTA, how am i supposed to update my twitter app when u’ve seems to block Google Play!just curious
— Murtaza Hashmi (@murtaza_7) September 22, 2012
Life without YouTube, Google Docs, Google Apps, wTools is worse than what you might think. #Pakistan is tough place to build a startup.
— Waqas Ali (@WaqasADay) September 30, 2012
When services like Google Docs, Apps, Drive, Adwords, YouTube etc are not working, it impacts a lot of people who are using them
— jehan_ara (@jehan_ara) September 28, 2012
Some Google services have been restored in the country but, whether it is India or Pakistan, we desperately need a permanent solution. Our ISPs should be held accountable for doing “more than what is required” and should not be allowed to disrupt online businesses just because of their “technical ineptness.”