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Educational Software Thread, N2H2 is officially spyware - on a massive scale in Technical; This is complete and utter nonsense! The facts are that more than 5 years ago, N2H2 had a proxy server ...
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    Re: N2H2 is officially spyware - on a massive scale

    This is complete and utter nonsense! The facts are that more than 5 years ago, N2H2 had a proxy server based web filtering soluiton, whereby every acceptable (allowed) page was served to the PC by the N2H2 server. N2H2 decided to offer a service in the US, whereby the customer paid nothing at all for the solution, N2H2 provided the hardware, software, support and upgrades, in return for the ability to post banner ads on the pages served, and an ability to sell AGREGATE data on surfing habits of schoolchildren. This data did not refer or relate to individual children, or even individual schools but was based on compounded statewide data. N2H2 made one such sale of data, but by that time the internet had moved on, the solution was made available as software, the pages were not served by a proxy server, there was no banner advertising and any data collected was by the customer themselves. N2H2 was purchased by Secure Computing Inc. in 2003, and the award winning database amalgamated with Secure's SmartFilter solution. To-day that solution is employed in more schools and major corporates worldwide than any other.

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    Re: N2H2 is officially spyware - on a massive scale

    Ok, so according to you the original article is FUD. Fine, but can we have some evidence to back up your version of history?

    Also you haven't addressed the other points I've previously raised.

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    Re: N2H2 is officially spyware - on a massive scale

    I know Peter quite well as he is our main contact at Secure Computing (UK subsidary). He has never been less then honest with us, so I do trust what he says above is in fact correct.

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    Re: N2H2 is officially spyware - on a massive scale

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff
    Ok, so according to you the original article is FUD. Fine, but can we have some evidence to back up your version of history?

    Also you haven't addressed the other points I've previously raised.
    I'm sorry - I'm new to this and cannot find your other comments.
    What I can tell you is that I, either in the position of MD of N2H2 Limited or now as MD of Telocator Limited, have been the sole point of presence for distribution of N2H2 in Europe since 1999 and we have never ever sold customer data or given the solution away. Furthermore, since the takeover by Secure Computing, the N2H2 and SmartFilter databases have been merged and this solution is the most robust that money can buy, including as it does 70 categories, including daily updates and Real Time updates of phishing, spyware and malware sites. This all happens in the background with no administrative involvement required. There are cheaper solutions such as Dans gaurdian but in the schools arena in particular using such a list is a false economy - or as one of our customers put it - using a sieve in a rainstorm.

  5. #20

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    Re: N2H2 is officially spyware - on a massive scale

    Quote Originally Posted by peterhodgson
    I'm sorry - I'm new to this and cannot find your other comments.
    I said

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff
    They way Smartfilter intergrates with Squid is probably a GPL violation
    and

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff
    Large chunks of their 'blacklists' are just a vertibam copy of the ones avalible (for considerably cheaper) from www.urlblacklist.com

    Quote Originally Posted by peterhodgson
    What I can tell you is that I, either in the position of MD of N2H2 Limited or now as MD of Telocator Limited, have been the sole point of presence for distribution of N2H2 in Europe since 1999 and we have never ever sold customer data or given the solution away.
    Fair enough. I shall poke and prod my copy of smartfilter just to be sure though.

    Quote Originally Posted by peterhodgson
    Furthermore, since the takeover by Secure Computing, the N2H2 and SmartFilter databases have been merged and this solution is the most robust that money can buy, including as it does 70 categories, including daily updates and Real Time updates of phishing, spyware and malware sites. This all happens in the background with no administrative involvement required.
    I think blacklisting/whitelisting a unworkable idea to start with. You're always playing catch up with the internet. I'm also paticularly uncomfortable with the idea of 'no administrative involvement required'. Surely your inviting lots of false positives/negatives into your listings taking such an approach.

    Its also been my experience that Smartfilter (at least here at Lancashire) regularly misses large amounts of Javascript and ActiveX based nasties. Dansguardian OTOH (especially when you hook it up with ClamAV) does a good job of catching everything Smartfilter misses. Which nicely leads me on to your next point.

    Quote Originally Posted by peterhodgson
    There are cheaper solutions such as Dans gaurdian but in the schools arena in particular using such a list is a false economy - or as one of our customers put it - using a sieve in a rainstorm.
    Cheaper and better in my book. Not only does it block based on blacklists/whitelists. It also does keyword based grey listing and content matching based on mime types/activex and a few other things. Throw in ClamAV as I've mentioned and hardly anything nasty gets through.

    Yes, the kids still get to places they shouldn't do but they will manage that regardless of what technological means we put in the way to stop them. Technology is not a replacement for supervision!

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    Re: N2H2 is officially spyware - on a massive scale

    Hey guys, I think it's about time that the name of this thread got changed

    There is certainly a 'grey area' at minimum, and possibly the company has been completely exonerated. So, the title is unfair on the company, as some users may just browse the headlines without reading the content and will be unaware of the debate within. Maybe one of these instead:

    N2H2 is unofficially spyware - on a massive scale

    N2H2 may not be spyware - on any scale

    N2H2 ROCKS!!!

    BTW it's nothing to do with me, as I'd never even heard of them or the product before.

  7. #22

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    Re: N2H2 is officially spyware - on a massive scale

    The company representative's lack of reply to my questions speaks volumes.

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    Re: N2H2 is officially spyware - on a massive scale

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff
    The company representative's lack of reply to my questions speaks volumes.
    I think that apart from the "GPL violation" claim, the rest of your points were that it just wasn't very good software. I don't think that that warrants the "officially spyware" thread title. Maybe it should be "N2H2 is officially crap", that would keep everyone happy

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    Re: N2H2 is officially spyware - on a massive scale

    My main arguements were:

    1. The way Smartfilter intergrates with Squid is probably a GPL violation but IANAL so I'm not sure. I've contacted the Squid project and the FSF for clarification though.

    2. Large chunks of the blacklists are subsets of the ones avalible from http://www.urlblacklist.com. compare the prices!

    3. The actual software isn't as flexible and competent as the leading opensource rival, dansguardian.

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