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Blogspot Blocked in Pakistan

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Update, March 7, 2006: Release preview version of httProxy - The mozilla extension through which you can access any blocked blog using your favorite web based proxy. See the details and user guide click here.

Update: Match 3, 2006:
I have received the actual PTA letter that was sent to the ISPs. You can find it here. (I have blurred the URLs so as not to publicize these sites)

March 2, 2006:
From the last couple days,  blogspot has been blocked by Pakistan Telecommunication Corporation (PTCL), probably for blocking blogs related to blasphemous cartoons. I am posting this news here as my blogs are inaccessible to many of my Pakistani friends. For the time being, access my blogs through Google Translate Proxy Hack, or via Coral CDN.
Ovais Khan's Diary (via Google Translate Proxy Hack) (via CCDN)
The Grid Computing Weblog (hvia Google Translate Proxy Hack) (via CCDN)

Access other blocked Sites using Google Translate Proxy (Pages open in new window)


Technically speaking, I have tried various ISPs and found the packets being blocked at Pakistan Internet Exchange (PIE) routers, a subsidiary of government owned Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL). I am asking for my friends using cybernet and fascom for trace routes as these ISPs have redundant links bypassing PIE.

They were trying to block blasphemous content as per relevant sources, but they did it in a highly unprofessional manner, in turn blocking all the blogspot blogs.  Some nice piece of information from Spider Blog: http://spiderisat.blogspot.com/2006/03/blogspot-and-other-sites-blocked.html (via CDN)

Some Solutions

There are various solutions to this issue and I would not repeat all the solutions here instead you can find the complete list of solutions here:
http://www.zensur.freerk.com/
http://cetamac.blogspot.com/2006/01/other-ways-for-browsing-blogspotcom.html (via CDN)
http://www.boingboing.net/censorroute.html
I'll just mention two of my favourite workarounds.

Access Blogspot via Coral Content Distribution Network (CCDN)

An easy way, is to access the blogspot blog via the Coral CDN proxies, by simple adding ".nyud.net:8080", to the end of teh blogspot URL. e.g, for my blog: http://ovaiskhan.blogspot.com, it would be: http://ovaiskhan.blogspot.com.nyud.net:8080. Same goes for the blog posts.

The issue with this approach is that you need to rewrite the URL each time, which is not the case with other web based proxies. WebLeOn however has a firefox extension that has access via CCDN in the right click menu.

Google Translate Proxy Hack

During my stay in UAE (where, uncountable sites including Coral CDN Proxies are blocked), I looked at various ways to bypass the blocks. Etisalat has even blocked all common proxy and web server ports (80, 8000, 8080, 3128, and many more) web based proxies, so you can't count on anonymizer, etc. I found Google Translate Proxy Hack, which works very fast and reliably and is not blocked neither in UAE nor in Pakistan.

For easier access of the blocked sites for my non-technical friends, you can enter the URL in the box below (Pages Open in new window):

Access Blocked Sites using Google Translate Proxy (Pages open in new window)


Firefox Specific Integration

If you use Mozilla Firefox, add this link as bookmark and then use the smart keywords feature to link it to a shortcut like gproxy and easily browse any blocked  site by entering "gproxy URL" e.g., "gproxy http://ovaiskhan.blogspot.com" in your location bar. Let me know, is you need any help on this.

I am also working on a firefox extension that should make access to blocked sites using any web based proxy easier.

Access via web based proxies (Some are ad-supported or have limited access, others are paid)

For most of the ones listed below, you can access the pages by just prepending the web page URL to the proxy URL.

Anonymizer:           http://anon.free.anonymizer.com/
Secure-Tunnel:        http://securebar.secure-tunnel.com/cgi-bin/nph-freebar.cgi/110110A/
Google Translate:    http://www.google.com/translate?langpair=en|en&u=
Anonymouse:          http://anonymouse.org/cgi-bin/anon-www.cgi/
Web Warper:           http://www.webwarper.net/ww/~av/
Unipeak:                  http://unipeak.com/

and many others for which you can always google.


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