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blog.gkaindl.com » No YouTube for you!

blog.gkaindl.com

nerd nouveau

No YouTube for you!


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NoTube

After Brazil and almost India, YouTube got blocked by court order in Turkey. You can read the full story here, and the follow-up here. I especially like the mentioning of unintentional, Borat-y humor, for example, in the English translation of an open letter to YouTube written by Milliyet, one of Turkey’s largest tabloids, trying to inflate the things that happened into a big, evil attack on Turkey on behalf of YouTube. The letter’s here. Apparently, YouTube is “condemned” now by Milliyet.

To sum things up, what happened is that someone (probably a teenie with little to do) from Greece uploaded a video to YouTube that called Kemal Atatürk gay. Somehow, the video made it into the “Most viewed” RSS feed and kicked off the whole thing: First, lots of turks sent video responses, some more Borat-y than others. Finally a Turkish court ordered YouTube to be blocked for insulting the Turkish state, and most Turkish ISPs seem to be enforcing the order.

Okay, all the Borat references, questions of stupidity, youtubism (that’s what I call to style of writing that’s characteristic of most YouTube comments, i.e. rude and stupid), homophobia, personal cult, grudges between countries and whatnot aside, what I find really striking is the unfolding of the event chain: First, kid from Greece uploads video. Next, thing gets big in Turkey. Next, YouTube blocked in Turkey. Doesn’t it somehow sound as if the Greek kid hit the Jackpot? I mean, half of the Internet world has seen their (even though my sexist self is highly doubting it was a girl) crappy video, and YouTube is blocked in Turkey now. It’s like the Matrix double-kick jump! Poor Turks!

Now I wonder if you could actually trigger such a chain of events intentionally, much like a social DoS attack. All you need is a country with a government that enforces censorship and is not afraid to show the world, an account at the site you want to get blocked and an evil mind. The guy that uploaded the Atatürk video probably didn’t anticipate that this would cause YouTube to get blocked in Turkey, but it has happened anyways. If you get somebody to sue the site for distributing the content, it may even work in countries that usually do not employ (politically motivated) censorship.

It would, for example, be a cheap and quick way to get a competitor’s site shut down in a certain country in order to divert their traffic to your own site. Imagine someone could pull this off in, say, China, where we know internet censorship is reality (and there are lots of users, so it would pay out!): YouTube gets blocked, but the demand to share videos is still there, of course, so you could put up a site that does just that and divert all the people that would have usually used YouTube to your own site, just because YouTube is no longer there. It doesn’t take much more than an offending video, some clever posting it to social bookmarking sites to spread it, then waiting until someone goes to court to get the site shut down (or it gets censored by the country directly). Kick off another viral marketing shtick on the same social bookmarking sites (probably as follow-up to the original posting, in order to reach all the people following the story) to make people aware of your site and tell them that you are happy to satisfy all their video-sharing needs. Of course, that’s just an example: It could be pulled off with a lot of other content sharing/organization sites as well, videos, text publishing, maybe even Google search (imagine what would have happened if Google returned the video in question as the first hit for “Atatürk”). Obviously, Google is afraid of things like this happening, as it gets shown by their caving in to the Turkish censorship demands (Read it here).

Not that I’m endorsing such an evil attack or anything, it’s just that I have the funny feeling that it would be possible…

About

Hi, how are you? My name is Georg Kaindl, and I'm a twenty-something from Vienna, Austria. During the day, I'm a CS student at the Vienna University of Technology, but at night, I turn into an independent software developer for the Macintosh platform, social nerd, lazy entrepreneur and intuitive researcher.

I like to write about everything that matters to considerate technology enthusiasts, but humbly retain the right to go off-topic from time to time.

My posts are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Contact

You can reach me by email if you have something to say that's not related to a blog post or that you don't want to have publicly available as a comment to a post.

However, you'll have to prove that you are human! Even though I personally like robots very much, I'm less of fan of SPAM. It's just a simple riddle to solve, but a SPAM bot won't cut it!

To get my email address, take the word before the .com in my domain name first (Hint: The word you are looking for starts with a "g" and ends with an "l"). Next, simply attach @mac.com to this word.

Boom, there's my email address. Simple, isn't it?

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