Pakistan is blocking YouTube because the site, a bastion of free expression, mashups, flexible attitudes to copyright and many other fine things – including me with Gu Pots on my head – contains material that is “blasphemous” and considered offensive to Islam.
It is yet another example of the way in which the world is dividing between those cultures and countries that are able to accept the existence of values that diverge from those they espouse and those which would like to remove all, those which are open and those which are closed.
It’s becoming clear that countries are the unit of network censorship, that the tales we told back in the 90’s about the end of the nation state were foolish dreams.
It’s also becoming clear that there is a price to pay for allowing nation states to assert their borders in cyberspace, a price that may in fact be too great.
Because soon almost all the places on the Internet where I spend my time and meet my friends will be off-limits in those countries, and I can’t help thinking that is a very bad state of affairs.