Pakistan to Monitor Google, Amazon, MSN and Others for Anti-Islamic Content


Pakistan plans to monitor Google (GOOG) and its YouTube site, as well as Yahoo (YHOO), Amazon (AMZN), and Microsoft's (MSFT) MSN, Hotmail and Bing for anti-Islamic content, saying it will block links to certain content on those sites if it deems it necessary, according to an Associated Press report.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority will be reviewing the sites for content that appears to be sacrilegious to Muslims, and its isn't afraid to throw its weight around. Last May, it temporarily blocked access to Facebook for about two weeks after a user called on others to post images of the Prophet Muhammad.

In addition to monitoring the seven high-profile Internet sites, the Authority is also blocking at least 17 smaller sites for content offensive to Muslims.

Pakistan is the latest country to impose censorship on Internet sites: China's knock-down, drag out fight with Google is only one of the more well-publicized examples. The government in Beijing wanted Google to censor politically sensitive searches, but ultimately, Google balked and closed its search operations there.

To comply with Pakistan's rules, Internet sites like YouTube, for example, will have to find a way to deal with user-generated postings like the controversialMuhammad cartoons that originally appeared in Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, or, in Amazon's case, listings of books such as Salman Rushdie's "The Satanic Verses."

Search engines Google, Bing and Yahoo, meanwhile, may face push-back from Pakistan for allowing users to find links to anti-Islamic Web sites.