Google's URL Shortener Blocked on Alfa Telecom


Earlier today during my morning ritual, I was browsing my twitter feed on my mobile, powered by Alfa Telecom's mobile data, and came across a couple of interesting tweets. I clicked the link in the tweet only to land on the page below:

The text reads:
This site has been blocked upon order from Lebanese courts

Naturally my initial assumption was that the target site or article was blocked and it seemed plausible since it was a news site. This sort of things is not unusual around here. Then I noticed that the URL was still showing Google's URL shortener goo.gl.

I tried a few other links that had this service and they all returned the same blocked page. The last verification step involved trying to open the serice itself on the bare URL goo.gl. Receiving the same page I private messaged some friends and took it to twitter to see if others had been facing the same issue.

The findings are as follows:

  • Some users on Alfa Telecom  like myself reported the same problem
  • Surprisingly others on Alfa's network were opening the site normally.
  • Touch users I contacted were issue-free.
  • I was able to personally verify that Sodetel was working.
  • IDM & Cyberia users reported it was working fine
  • Corporate users on Ogero have reportedly been able to open the URL
  • Furthermore at the time of writing this piece I was able to open again the URL on my Alfa subscription
With so many conflicting reports one is unable to draw any conclusions on this matter. My best guess is that it's a mis-configuration of some sorts on their DNS or Cache Engine. Let me know in the comments if you were able to open this on your local ISP or if you also encountered the blocked page