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CLEO Thread, Website Filtering in Regional Broadband Consortiums (RBC); Some of my schools have been on a whitelist webfiltering scheme. I've been told that all (I'm assuming primary) schools ...
  1. #1

    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    Website Filtering

    Some of my schools have been on a whitelist webfiltering scheme.

    I've been told that all (I'm assuming primary) schools will be switched onto this filtering today.

    Just means that any site that hasn't been already cleared as OK will automatically be blocked.

    When this happens, people just have to request that they are unblocked via the online form but make sure everyone knows to use a school email address (even if it means using the bursar's email address ) as a none lancs email address is not treated as quickly/seriously as a school one.

    Its sounds like a pain but hopefully all the main sites needed will have been unblocked by the schools on the trial


    regards

    Simon

  2. #2

    Geoff's Avatar
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    Heh. I reserve the right to point and laugh when this is change is rolled back.

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    tom_newton's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, this is how lesser web filters deal with proxies..

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    Ric_'s Avatar
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    I got a letter about this... went something along the lines of:

    e-SAFETY – IMPROVEMENTS TO FILTERING ON THE LANCASHIRE GRID FOR
    LEARNING

    Over recent months there has been an increase in the number of instances reported where
    pupils have been able to circumvent the Smartfilter system used to filter websites on the
    Lancashire Grid for Learning (LGfL) service by the use of “proxy-bypass” services. Pupils
    have been accessing proxy-bypass websites that are not blocked by the Smartfilter system
    and then re-directing to other websites with the potential to access inappropriate content
    that would normally be blocked by the LGfL system.

    The Smartfilter system works by maintaining a list of websites under approximately 90
    different categories such as gambling, pornography, terrorism, extreme political groups,
    social networking, hacking etc. These categories can then be blocked or unblocked
    depending on the level of filtering required.

    The Internet is constantly changing and despite the best endeavours of the providers of
    Smartfilter there will always be a significant number of websites that remain unclassified.
    To date the content of these unclassified websites has been available within schools as
    they have not yet been placed in one of the categories. We are now in a position to block
    all unclassified content and have been trialling this with a number of schools over recent
    weeks to discover the impact this has on the filtering service.

    I am pleased to be able to report that the schools involved in the trial felt that the changes
    resulted in a much improved filtering service and as a result we intend to implement this
    change across the whole of the LGfL service with effect from Monday 2nd February 2009.

    There may be a small number of websites with genuine educational potential that are
    unclassified and will therefore be blocked once these changes have been made. If this
    does happen please ask your staff to contact us using the online form that appears on the
    blocked site notification page. The website will be manually added as an exception to
    allow access in future.

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    I also like how this doesn't stop ultrasurf.

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    tom_newton's Avatar
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    To be fair, you do need to add a few firewall rules to stop ultrasurf, if I remember correctly.

    Edit: I might lie... we may be able to do it without. Anyone with ultrasurf woes... get in touch

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    or DNS tunnels... or ICMP tunnels..

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    Whitelist

    Quote Originally Posted by Ric_ View Post
    I got a letter about this... went something along the lines of:
    I didn't even get the letter, I was just pointed at the lancsngfl web site after I started to ask qustions,after having to get the 3rd web site unblocked. What a state of affairs......a whitelist!

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    tom_newton's Avatar
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    All I can suggest is:
    1. Demand a fully open connection and get a BECTA certified solution for yourselves
    2. Failing that, get a "mostly open connection" and do the above
    3. Complain bitterly at lancsgfl - tell them "Get SmoothWall, we promise it will make us complain less".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff View Post
    Heh. I reserve the right to point and laugh when this is change is rolled back.
    Laugh away, we just had unfiltered internet access. Someone must have pressed the wrong button! working well, working well!

    As was said
    IMPROVEMENTS TO FILTERING ON LANCASHIRE GRID FOR LEARNING

    Improvements, I'd hate to see a step backwards!

  11. #11

    Geoff's Avatar
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    lol

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    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    Well having just spent some time dealing with the problems a person at ICT Centre says (as you've all found out - Ric even saw a letter!!!!) all schools have same level of filtering and that filtering is whitelist.

    Now as a primary person , this isn't a really bad idea , inconveinent, but not completely stupid.

    I can imagine what High Schools think though

    The person told me "it was not possible" to have different filtering for different schools/networks.

    As someone who was on a trial last year, I don't think that's true

    As usual, Big Brother thinks they know best and the last people they talk to are the customers (are your reading this guy from E2BN )

    I expect most of the problems on T'internet are due to system overload.

    The person at ICT Centre says there is a large backload of ublock site requests so goodness help the schools getting ofsted'd this week who need to demonstrate ICT

    regards
    Simon

    PS _ will the rest of your bother them as well cause I seem to be the only one that does it
    Last edited by SimpleSi; 4th February 2009 at 04:21 PM.

  13. #13

    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    I'm now getting emails from the filter itself telling me its unblocked some of the requests I've made
    Hi

    Your filter request has been processed and you should be able to view your website.

    Best wishes

    LGfL Filter

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    dezt's Avatar
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    We've discovered some of the exam boards we use are blocked, we had to send in requests for them to be unblocked. Apart from when the smartfilter went down due to a config error i've had all sorts of phonecalls about websites working last week and not now.

  15. #15

    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    Just saw
    I am pleased to be able to report that the schools involved in the trial felt that the changes
    resulted in a much improved filtering service
    It must have been my twin brother that was asked

    Maybe I by mistake, said something that wasn't completely negative and that was taken as a positive endorsement

    I know that (some) of the people in charge mean well but .....

    regards

    Simon



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