Pakistan Govt tender for an internet filtering and blocking system
In February 2012 the Pakistan Government published a public tender for the "development, deployment and operation of a national-level URL filtering and blocking system". Bolo Bhi, a Pakistan-based NGO, issued a petition calling on eight tech companies not to respond to the tender. Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited the companies to respond.
Petition: “Censorship is Big Business – It Should Not Be”, Sana Saleem of Bolo Bhi (Pakistan), Feb 2012
"Press kit: National URL Filtering & Blocking System", Bolo Bhi, 2012 (includes background, campaign timeline)
"Pakistan Builds Web Wall Out In The Open," Eric Pfanner, New York Times, 2 Mar 2012
Company responses and non-responses
Websense response: "Say NO to Government Censorship of the Internet in Pakistan"
- Bolo Bhi: "Thank you Websense, from Pakistan"
- Bolo Bhi: "Thank you Sandvine, Verizon & Cisco, From Pakistan"
McAfee (via Twitter): "Update to our followers - McAfee has confirmed that it is not pursuing Pakistan firewall RFP"
Blue Coat Systems reportedly told CNET that it would not bid for the project
Huawei has not responded
Netsweeper has not responded
ZTE (mentioned in Access petition, see below) has not yet responded
Updates since 9 Mar 2012
Petition by Access Now: "20 Million Silenced?" This petition names ZTE in addition to the companies above. We are in the process of inviting ZTE to respond to the petition and will indicate here whether they respond or not.
"The Global Network Initiative Encourages Companies Not to Respond to Pakistan's Request for Proposals for an Internet Filtering and Blocking System", 12 Mar
"Concern about new bid to censor the Internet", 13 Mar, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and FIDH
NEW on 19 Mar: "Cautious Celebration: Report Suggests Pakistan IT Ministry Withdraw Internet Censorship Plans", Bolo Bhi
Click here for ongoing developments on Pakistan, freedom of expression and internet firms