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East of England Broadband Network (E2BN) Thread, E2BN in Regional Broadband Consortiums (RBC); Anyone here have any moans about E2BN? I've never really had any issues with them, other then the cacheboxs have ...
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    matt40k's Avatar
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    E2BN

    Anyone here have any moans about E2BN? I've never really had any issues with them, other then the cacheboxs have telnet.

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    the fact that they do not block the sites that you request, despite the blatent reason for blocking them! The decided that porn was not worthy to block but a website on politics was. oh the fun!

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    Has anyone actually managed to get a blocked site unblocked? I tried one this week, but have got no response, no access, no nothing. At least tell us you got the message. right?

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    Our RBC is E2BN but our filtering is done by Norfolk County Council or rather by BT on behalf of NCC at their data centre.

    Ben

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    I managed to get a science website unblocked. The kids were doing a project on the digestive system and everything to do with the word "anus" 10x or more was blocked, so I got them to lower the filters a bit. Seems fine since.

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    Just asked Simon Bright (E2BN) to remove it. Those forms just don't work.

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    DG01's Avatar
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    I have a pretty good relationship with ICT Solutions after months of moaning. Usually I tend to be able to get them to get things done.

    Can't always say the response times are good and the manual processing of new RFA's seem to take a while...

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    Online forms...

    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    Just asked Simon Bright (E2BN) to remove it. Those forms just don't work.
    I've just been directed to this thread so I've joined just so I can reply on E2BN's behalf...

    The forms do work - we get a steady stream of requests to block/unblock sites for staff and pupils both via both the online form and the "block page" form link.

    We try to be as open as we can regarding unblocking sites and during the normal school week to action requests within 24hours. All the days changes are updated overnight to all the servers in the Protex system.

    Because of the potential volumes and the sometimes less that temperate language some forms are ignored. Other forms may be incomplete or have incorrectly formatted e-mail addresses - these are automatically ignored.

    Finally, some replies are bounced from commercial and LA mail systems because they see them as spam or contain inappropriate language.

    If you have tried so make submissions and they have not been acted upon or you've not had a reponse (and you've had no reply) then you can mail the filtering team directly on filtering@e2bn.org: but this is not the place to make requests for blocking or unblocking - these must go via the online forms so that they can be logged.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nephilim View Post
    the fact that they do not block the sites that you request, despite the blatent reason for blocking them! The decided that porn was not worthy to block but a website on politics was. oh the fun!
    Can you let me know what sites you are talking about and when the requests were made so I can look through the database?

    We have had very little trouble with porn as the content checking is very efficient with these sites: in all the Becta tests that have been run against Protex we have scored 100% on detecting porn sites.

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    Last time I checked, these were available on the students profiles 8081-8083. Which meant students were completing the forms, thus giving you lots of spam. Why don't you limit them to only 8084. Generally if a website doesn't work the school will try the address on the staff profile before moving on.

    I also believe you force users to use an internal IP address range, surely you could then match this to a school. Even a generic email to a standard email would be better then ignoring onces with wrong email addresses.

    Ideally you want v2 to be deployed :]

    Again, my "real life" experience is that the forms just don't work, emailing filtering does, sorry to quote names, but he's the guy who normally does it.

    If you've made any changes to the forms and there filtering, I would make this clear to the LEAs and make sure they filter this down, as no-one I know has faith in the forms. Feel free to correct me.

    I believe nephilim is referring to a website that has no text (or limited) but has explicate images that has now been blocked by E2BN\URLblacklists etc.

    Generally the filtering is fine, just issue of it being not as good as Smoothwall (in my opinion).

    Oh, what about the fact you have telnet rather then SSH?

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    Last time I checked, these were available on the students profiles 8081-8083. Which meant students were completing the forms, thus giving you lots of spam. Why don't you limit them to only 8084. Generally if a website doesn't work the school will try the address on the staff profile before moving on.
    We have found the pupils comments very valuable in picking up sites that should be unblocked - and they are usually more proactive than staff who may not bother sending in a form.

    I also believe you force users to use an internal IP address range, surely you could then match this to a school. Even a generic email to a standard email would be better then ignoring ones with wrong email addresses.
    Not quite sure what you mean by this: the IP address of the server can be anything as long as we have the relevant details to allow secure access to our management systems. So, for example, users have external IP addresses, 10-dot E2BN addresses, or private addresses behind a NAT.

    If a user submits a form from the block page then this can, indeed, be tracked back to an individual cache but this may not be a school one - more often that not, however, it will be the central LA caches. Also the request to block page can be submitted from anywhere.

    Ideally you want v2 to be deployed :]
    V2 is already being deployed in school based systems allowing, for example, integration with a local AD.

    Again, my "real life" experience is that the forms just don't work, emailing filtering does, sorry to quote names, but he's the guy who normally does it.
    Hmm - I think I must beg to differ - we have over 32,000 logged requests to show that they do work!

    Oh, what about the fact you have telnet rather then SSH?
    We have never been happy about this either! This was an issue with the Appliansys Cachebox - the newer ones (v3.12) come with ssh which is much better.

    Regards.

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    I see the point about the IP limiting. I would still actually ask the head teachers\ict coordinators etc for real feedback. I bet some didn't even know you could!

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    Thumbs down Protex forms, CACHEBox configuration

    I have had exactly zero response from any Protex comment form. I certainly have never used intemperate language on these! Sometimes the changes get made (after submitting many requests), but we're never told whether the changes have been/will be made, or even that the form has been received. Fixing these two issues would greatly improve our school's perception of E2BN.

    If there are too many requests to handle, then I respectfully suggest E2BN need to hire more staff, or change the way they handle these forms, perhaps delegating some of the handling of these requests. If a school purchases a CACHEBox, then I believe they can add sites to the lists. I have never tried this, however.

    I have had this site:
    XnView
    successfully unblocked, so sometimes, the forms do work.

    If the forms are perceived as not working, then they don't work.

    Does anyone have any documentation on configuring these boxes? This page:
    Main Page - E2BNWiki
    is pathetic. (We have a `trial' CACHEBox 200, but due to lack of docs, I haven't put it into active service. I could just deploy it as an alternative to the upstream caches, since we have a pre-existing Squid box...)

    Incidentally, I met John H at BETT 2009, and he seems like a really knowledgeable and dedicated guy. This screed is in no way directed at him!

    PS - I think that 8084 idea is pretty good, but then John H works at E2BN, so whatever... Some sort of verified address for submitting changes seems like a good idea though.

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    Thanks for the vote of confidence!

    The page you mention is for the older version which (as you are from Essex and have a test box) you do not have. I am at this very moment writing some new documentation for Protex v2. V1 had not set up to do really other than installing it so this page was just to explain the general policy and the admin interface which is mostly just adding and deleting URLs from the local list.

    The new version does take a bit more setting up - if you want NTLM authentication - and this is what I writing now. Also we are planning to set up some training sessions soon.

    I take on board the comment forms: in general the handling is done outside E2BN and we get the problematic ones to vet and deal with. I'll get on the the people who do this and reiterate the point about feeding back when changes are made and, if not, why not.

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    PS: if you have any of the IDs you were given when you submitted a request can you forward a couple to me so I can check what action was taken. In theory any positive action should have a reply - but we do get some mail bounced back from LA mail services so I want to see whether a reply was actually sent but not received or whether not reply was made by us at all. Thanks. (mail off list to john.hackett@e2bn.org)

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