Google Users in Pakistan Suffer as ISPs Block Sites Without Reason

Written by Amit Agarwal on Oct 1, 2012

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 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.

Google Pakistan
This tweet best sums up the situation in Pakistan

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.

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.”

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