Home > Education, Everything Else, Insanity!, Politics, Security, Standards > Big Brother is Watching Me Surf

Big Brother is Watching Me Surf

October 25, 2007

I was mid-read of Matt Berseth’s blog this morning and was greeted with our filter’s cheerful message:

You cannot access the following Web address:


This site is blocked under the filtering policy. If you believe this site has been blocked inappropriately, send a request for a site review to {email removed}. In order for your request to be processed you must include the address of the site you would like reviewed, your name, and the educational application of the site in question. Please contact your site STS or Customer Service at {phone removed} if you have additional questions.

The site you requested is blocked under the following categories: Malicious Sites

So, I contacted with a serious WTF question.  Lately, more and more blogs, forums, and community sites—which are key resources to modern developers—have been blocked. 

The answer I got: Send in a formal request, it will be reviewed by the curriculum department to ensure it’s safe for children.  If it’s not, then it will remain blocked.  Coding sites are considered malicious because they teach potential hacking skills to children that could endanger the stability of network systems.


I haven’t even responded yet.  I don’t have anything nice to say that will keep me employed.  And, for now, I don’t have to worry… because THIS blog (my blog) is blocked too… tomorrow, maybe Google will be blocked because we don’t want children to find anything “bad”.

Thankfully, I can still RDP into my home computer and WORK.

Note: I’m not saying Internet filtering and such are bad; but due dilligence of staff/parents/etc. should make up for some of that—and educating children what they should and shouldn’t access will make it less taboo.  Oh, and separate filtering policies for the MIS Department and the kindergarteners, kthx.

[Update 12:45pm: I now have an ‘understanding’ of the full process.  An email to a monitored address, a response, a form to fill out, a few committee or individual, a response with further questions, an email back, and finally it’s opened up.  I’m tempted for two things: a) just continue RDPing out because that process took almost 1.5 hours, b) send in 100+ of them at one time.  And yes, my blog is still blocked—RDPing home to post.]

  1. Spawny
    October 25, 2007 at 10:30 pm

    Greetings from smoky San Diego! I thought I was flying into HELL yesterday, but the fires were well away from the city. I’m here for Aaron’s graduation from Marine Corps Basic, and I have to say that I’m a very proud Marine Mom! 🙂

  2. October 25, 2007 at 11:20 pm

    Awesome, woot, whoo-ah, or whatever they do. Pass along my congrats and be safe out there!

  3. October 30, 2007 at 12:13 pm

    LOL @ having to RDP to your home computer to learn coding samples / techniques.

    I once contracted for a company that blocked GMail (local .NET User Group) as well as Yahoo Groups (.NET User Group archives) and Google Groups (emergency situations).

    Way to hinder productivity. We used to joke, “Would you let a doctor perform brain-surgery with only one-half of a scalpel?”

  4. October 30, 2007 at 12:43 pm

    Yeah, and it’s not even so much as samples as simply reading the daily news. I can get to CNN, KSN (local station), and our newspaper unhindered, but reading the “techie” news–which quite frankly comes from blogs and mashups these days–is blocked.

    Maybe I’ll borrow your analogy except tailor it to the education system: “Would you let a teacher teach with only one-half of a pencil?” Sadly, I’m sure they’d say “Sure, she can scrawl in blood when the pencil runs out.” Efficiency and Effectivity are not KPIs around these parts. 😦

    Oh, and if they blocked Gmail, I’d die. 😦

  5. October 30, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    Unfortunately you are probably correct in assuming a teacher would be expected to write in blood.

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