YouTube and Some File Sharing Sites Blocked In Bangladesh

Rezwan

Rezwan

Internet users in Bangladesh are not able to access YouTube since Friday (March 6, 2009) evening. Soon people discovered that other Social Media and file hosting/sharing sites like Esnips, mediafire etc. were also not accessible. Apparently these are blocked by the firewalls at IIG (International Internet Gateway) as these can be accessed by proxy.

Torpon appeals to the Bangladesh government not to takeaway the freedom of internet after providing some proofs of the filtering:

ঢাকায় ইউটিউবে ঢুকতে গিয়ে টাইম আউট হয়ে যাচ্ছিল দেখে অনেকে ভাবছিলেন যে ইউটিউবের সার্ভারের সমস্যা । এরপর দেখা যাচ্ছিল যে ইস্নিপস্ এও ঢোকা যাচ্ছে না । তখন সন্দেহ করা হলো যে সমস্যাটি অন্য কোন খানে । কোথাও ডেটা ব্লক হয়ে যাচ্ছে । প্রমাণ ছাড়া সরকার কে দোষ দেয়াটা অযৌক্তিক । কিন্তু অল্প কিছু সময়ের মধ্যে অভিজ্ঞ বাংলাদেশী নেটওয়ার্ক ইঞ্জিনিয়াররা বিভিন্ন জায়গা থেকে জানালেন সরকারী কোন সার্ভারের ফায়ারওয়ালে ইউটিউব সহ অনেক গুলো সাইট ব্লক করা হয়েছে।

While accessing YouTube from Dhaka a ‘time out error’ was being returned and people thought there was something wrong with YouTube Server. Soon people found out that they could not access E-snips (a file sharing site). So people feared that somewhere the data is being blocked. It is not logical to blame the government without proof and logic. But soon IT experts and network engineers from all over Bangladesh notified that YouTube and a few other sites are being blocked by a firewall in some government server.

Screenshot courtesy - Torpon
Screenshot courtesy - Torpon

বাংলাদেশ লিনাক্স ইউজার গ্রুপের সার্ভার থেকে গুগল, ইউটিউব এবং ইস্নিপসের সাইটে ট্রেসরাউট কমান্ড দিয়ে দেখা গেছে, গুগল ঠিকই পৌছে যাচ্ছে গুগলের সার্ভারে কিন্তু বাকি দুটো আটকে গেছে বিটিটিবির ফায়ার ওয়ালে।

When traceroute command was executed from the Bangladesh Linux user group server targeting Google, YouTube and E-snips sites the result showed that Google server could be reached but the other two were being stuck at BTTB Firewall.

Mango and BTCL (formerly BTTB) are the official IIGs (International Internet Gateway) in Bangladesh. Starting last April, by regulation, all Bangladeshis ISPs have to route their international traffic to either Mango, or BTCL, who send the traffic over either the submarine cable or the vsats.

The YouTube ban was confirmed [bn] by a Bangla Newspaper Prothom Alo. Twitter user Mahay Alam Khan reports on the ban on more sites:

mahayalamkhan: youtube, eSnips, midiafire, filefreak, upload-mp3 are banned or blocked in Bangladesh. Please, re-twitt.

Russell John speculates why the ban was executed:

Why did the Government do this? It’s because of an audio recording that could “damage” the reputation of our great Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. For now they blocked YouTube and eSnips, but in the future there might be more sites. Maybe Facebook too? People shares a lot of stuff there.

After the recent BDR mutiny and massacre of army officers in Dhaka the Prime Minister met the aggrieved army officers in a confidential closed door meeting at Shenakunja where no press or outsiders were allowed. The conversions in the meeting and cellphone video recordings were leaked out, uploaded and shared using many file sharing sites including E-snips and YouTube. Unheard Voice blog discusses the issue of the leaked audio files which are being used by some quarters to create some political bickering and malign the army and the Prime Minister.

Dark ocean needs a lighthouse says:

If Bangladesh Govt thinks Internet is like Cellphone service then they are living in fools’ paradise. There are many ways people can bypass the blockage. [..] In this particular case anyone can use Anonymous proxy and bypass firewall!

Youtube, eSnips etc are very common and useful services. If Bangladesh Govt think any particular Audio and Video harmful for our society they could directly request Youtube to remove them. Such wild blockage is not only stupidity but also raises question about Govt’s intention.

Some bloggers like Kayes Mahmud are providing proxy links so that others can access the blocked contents. Razon Sun points out that the contents of the meeting at Shenakunjo have already been published in a local newspaper [bn]. So there is actually no logic to block the internet. It may be mentioned here that Bangladeshis outside Bangladesh can easily access to these contents, which can be downloaded and shared by email.

Sushanta says:

প্রচারনা বন্ধ করার আগে দেখেন কিভাবে এটা রেকর্ড হলো? প্রথমে কোন সাইটে এটা আপ্লোড হয়েছে। সেনাকুঞ্জের সভার ভিডিও টা দেখেন ভালো করে কোন সেনা কর্মকর্তা মোবাইল হাতে চুপেচাপে রেকর্ডিং করছে। এটা ধরা তেমন কঠিন কাজ না।

Before trying to block the audio/videos please see how it was recorded and where it was first uploaded. Please check the video of the Shenakunja meeting to pin point who recorded it. It is not hard to find out.

Russell vents his frustration:

What’s ironical is that it’s the same Government that talks about “Digital Bangladesh” all the time. We now know what Digital Bangladesh is like.

Now the question is how to unblock YouTube and other file sharing sites in Bangladesh. We have seen in previous cases that the authorities do not recognize that such bans were carried out in the first place shifting the blame to technical glitches. In the absence of ‘Right To Information Act’ it is hard for a common citizen to ask why it was done. We hope that the authorities will unblock all these sites to prevent more controversies and bad publicity for the government.


16 Responses to “YouTube and Some File Sharing Sites Blocked In Bangladesh”

  1. Tonoy

    If Hasina did such a good job during the Pilkhana crisis, she and her cronies would not need to block Youtube. Its about time Hasina explained to the country what made her pursue ‘Political solution’ track when it was force that was needed to break up the mutiny. At this point, there are no alternatives to impeaching this incompetent PM. The country would fall into abyss if this government is allowed to continue. Where are all the armchair security experts? Shouldn’t you defend Free speech now?

  2. ahmed faruque

    This is pathetic. The government messed up with the whole crisis and now they won’t even take the blame. The idiots who have imposed this ban doesn’t know a thing about freedom of information. Bangladesh is becoming another china.

  3. Annon

    The first step to create so called soner “Digital Bangladesh” is to block all the website that reveal the actual, brutal, corrupted, dirty side of B.desh

  4. Annon-2

    @annon

    How do you know it’s the government? Its someone else who is trying to cover up its lapses. The IP addresses have been traced out from Reston, Northern Virginia. Also the entire Pilkhana episode is on a 40 hour tape that has been tracked by US and Russian spy satellites. You can be sure that they too will help to pinpoint the criminals. Some of the imaging high tech sensors are so powerful that faces can be vividly recognized.

    Next what? The dirty game against the ruling party is on. They know it very well that tailored video clips and leaked tapes will not even put a dent on their landslide victory!

    The whole game has backfired. The launching of audio MP3s have worked in AL’s favour.

    Just relax in your armchair and watch out for the truth. The culprits will be nailed down.

  5. mamoon haroon

    Since Awami League has come to power the two things they seem to be preoccupied with is the trial of war criminals and empowering women, which they have done by appointing women to head most of the important ministries.

    Yes, the above are important topics but the country has more pressing problems that we face on a daily basis.

    Power shortage has become unbearable, law and order situation has vastly deteriorated, student bodies are out of control and according to news reports the work flow at the secretariet has come to a crawl.

    But what we hear from the government ministers is the same old blame game, accusing the previous BNP government for everything. AL has not publicly formulated any concerted vision as to how it plans to lift the nation out of the precarious state of affairs in many fronts.

    Now there is talk of having 100 reserved seats for women! What for?? Don’t we have enough MPs already? What has been achieved by the women who have already been elected in reserved seats? Are they competent? Have they achieved anything for the nation? Have any of them managed to move to a leadership position within their respective parties?

  6. Annon

    in this country, just see the below:

    corruption + poverty + customized system + customized law + traffic jam + mosquito + power failure + conspiracy of govt. (both bnp & al) + few natural resources + regular natural calamity + most expensive and inefficient telecommunication/internet in even south asia

    now the new element “+ blocked internet side” = BANGLADESH

    what a royal combination?!?

    now

  7. aceha

    Whoever has blocked the YouTube should lift it. I understand the leakage of tapes from SENAKUNJO is a disgrace for the country. Some rogues have done it and they must be caught.

    I am very much interested to see the IRAD SIDDIQUI outburst against Khaleda Zia for 6 crore taka for mayoral nomination by the disgraced corrupt lady and her cronies.

    Please let us see the ‘IRADI BOMB’. I beg the blockers to immediately undo it.

  8. Annon

    if some or any army official(s) recorded the incident at senakunja and upload it to you-tube then capture that culprit(s). why we the general internet users would suffer for the inefficiency of digital govt. or djfi or so-called bangladesh’s digital intelligence agencies?

    it is neither the fault of youtube, esnips, mediafire nor ours’ the general people. it is only the responsibility of govt. to capture the culprit(s) and set these sites free.

    our govt(s) neither can ensure rule of law for us nor control culprit business people but can oppress or restrict us the general people whatever the incident would be.

  9. Murad

    request govt. to set free these websites. if anybody burns his house by fire then it is not the responsibility of fire but the responsibility of that particular person. catch him. do not execute fire.

  10. Rakib

    It is all stupid to block youtube. If we are to practice democracy then it must be the same for all level of peole and democracy allows freedom of speech. Why did not the government ban the foreing sites which talk rubbish about religion and are prejudiced towards certain religion! This is just like dicatatorship, where any word against the leader means prosecution. Hate the whole idea. Simply nonsense.

  11. Rigan

    YES.Govt has blocked those sites.Bcoz of after the mutiny in BDR Prime Minister went Army HQ.

    At there Army officers were excited.They had arguments with Prime Minister & lot of confidential issues.Someone recorded this audio & uploaded to Youtube.

    So, the Govt restricted Youtube,Esnips & these types of video sites to flourish these files.They deployed ACL bt they don’t know it is not the proper system to restrict the sites.Those sites were accessible always via several proxy sites.So, whats are the benifits to restrict those sites?They should to communicate with the Admins of those sites & req them to delete those files.

    Anyway, the sites are open now.But they deprived ppl from info.

    Best Regards,

    Rigan.

  12. Saiful Islam

    The BDR carnage was a systematic preplanned killing of the best collection of army officers who were national assets. Nothing can replace this damage. This has severely affected the morale of all members of the armed forces particularly the junior officers. They became so emotional that they only think of military action could have been the best option given the fact the rebels were too afraid to run away if army moved in. However, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh wisely opted for a peaceful solution rather than purely military action, fearing it could mess up the conflict into a full-blown bloodbath within the BDR compound. The decision was very critical, which is now proved to have been handled with remarkable political wisdom and foresight, resolve and equanimity. The army has also shown remarkable good sense, they remained absolutely steadfast to the unified command though there were many agitation and anger under the uncertainly of the situation and external provocation. While the officers were struggling to comfort each other from the grief, I find some strong media shows sympathy to the rebels and their colaborators. This kind of journalism adds more scars to our wounds and creates unrest in the society. Let us all pray so that we all remain united and draw strength from the loss to serve the nation better.

  13. Rahman

    To all the debater: could you please think in nutral way. Please widen your mind. Eveytime you are blaming each other. If it continues, this country will never progress. Be proud to tell the truth. There is no credit in supporting specific party. I have already visited two first world countries and tried to explore why they are in this position. Everytime I find they are bold in telling the truth. And there is no emotion works for the sinner which is so severe in our country.

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