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Internet Related/Filtering/Firewall Thread, The Death of School Proxies? in Technical; So with the launch of proper filtering from ISPs finally are we going to see the death of expensive custom ...
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    zag
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    The Death of School Proxies?

    So with the launch of proper filtering from ISPs finally are we going to see the death of expensive custom solutions like smootwall and Lightspeed?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25430582

    I've been a massive supporter of ISP filtering as I believe its such a simple thing to do at network level and people should have choice. Now its working for home connections it cant be long until our business connections get the feature.

    So do we actually need our local proxies any more?
    Last edited by zag; 19th December 2013 at 09:27 AM.

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    yes as that will just filter out porn (and whatever else the power at bee deem unfit) wont say block youtube or sites you may want blocking for your own reasons

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    Quote Originally Posted by zag View Post
    I believe its such a simple thing to do at network level

    So do we actually need our local proxies any more?
    1) Have you read the article? Filtering as we all know is by no means simple, the further it is from you the more problematic it gets as you have less control. Say today your PHSE pupils need to access the edinburgh womens site and your on talk talk, your not getting there.


    2) yes we still need our own filtering, the ISP's won't block facebook, youtube, proxy bypass sites, flash games, etc.


    Rob

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    At ISP level, most filtering is DNS based, and not very good.
    Here's today's example: BBC News - Porn filters block sex education websites
    Yesterday's was about proxy anonymizers.

    Yes, this *will* get better. As it gets better, it will get more expensive. Good, Fast, Cheap. Pick any 2.

    I suspect in time a lot of this sort of thing will be done in private clouds, by ISPs, with products like Smoothwall and Lightspeed.

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    chazzy2501's Avatar
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    Don't forget the websites with extreme political views. Soon to be followed by sites that harm the economy (anything that challenges big corps, so soon 3d printer sites etc.). Then sites that are critical of the government or your local council or inform you of your rapidly diminishing rights as a citizen.

    it's a slippery slope.

  6. 3 Thanks to chazzy2501:

    ICT_GUY (7th January 2014), LosOjos (19th December 2013), mats (19th December 2013)

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    The problem with network wide filtering is how you balance the needs of various users where those needs may be entirely incompatible. Your school may want something blocked that another school views as valid research material. We already see BT's blocking having unintended consequences, generally the larger the network and the more customers being services by it, the more difficult it will be to get such issues recognised and dealt with. Both these issues suggest that some institutions will find value in providing their own filtering for some time to come.

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    X-13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twin--turbo View Post
    proxy bypass sites
    They're blocking those, too. [They didn't mention that when it was proposed...]

    Which means if you have issues with a proxy server, should you use one, you'll be blocked at the ISP level from searching for a solution.


    The mission creep began before it was even launched.

    Pornography, extremism, eating disorders, self harm, piracy, how to bypass the filters... I'm really getting fed up of this crap.

  9. 2 Thanks to X-13:

    LosOjos (19th December 2013), mats (19th December 2013)

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by X-13 View Post

    Pornography, extremism, eating disorders, self harm, piracy, how to bypass the filters... I'm really getting fed up of this crap.
    Silly question - but if you thought it important enough to impose said restrictions, and customers buying your service agree to using under those restrictions, why would you leave a back door open to bypass those restrictions? Kinda makes the implementing said restrictrictions a bit pointless.

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    I think we need to rephrase the question. Are we asking (or being asked) if school controlled proxies will disappear (and in this I also include proxies hosted outside of the school and proxies controlled on behalf if schools by LAs, RBCs or Academy groups)?

    Simple answer ... no. The filters are aimed at a particular client ... Families at home. At the moment the ISPs in question don't have a grasp of educational needs and that is why you have ISPs delivered via RBCs, LAs and specialist companies (SchoolsBroadband, EXA, BT Education, RM, etc).

    Unless UKCCIS sort themselves out to work harder with the education sector then anything home ISPs try to deliver to schools will seriously fall short. Happy to rant about the DfE lack of support or drive for recent attempts by BSI in this.

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    X-13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    and customers buying your service agree to using under those restrictions
    Agree to what? They're just filtering it by default, you have no say in it. OK you can, sort of, turn it off. [Yep, OFF doesn't mean off any more.]

    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    why would you leave a back door open to bypass those restrictions? Kinda makes the implementing said restrictrictions a bit pointless.
    I know, it DOES make sense.

    I'm just annoyed that they said they were doing one thing, and now are doing half a dozen extra things they never mentioned.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zag View Post
    So do we actually need our local proxies any more?
    Yes. The purpose of the ISP filters and school filters are different.
    IMO ISP are never going to, and shouldn't, cover the range of stuff that a school proxy such as Smoothwall and I can't see this being enforced on business grade connections.
    Plus we need local control of the filtering to tailor it to the needs of the schools. As a comparison, we have had a LA controlled filter in the past and they will take our SW box out my cold dead hands.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tom_newton View Post
    At ISP level, most filtering is DNS based, and not very good.
    Here's today's example: BBC News - Porn filters block sex education websites
    Yesterday's was about proxy anonymizers.

    Yes, this *will* get better. As it gets better, it will get more expensive. Good, Fast, Cheap. Pick any 2.

    I suspect in time a lot of this sort of thing will be done in private clouds, by ISPs, with products like Smoothwall and Lightspeed.
    I believe BT use a different approach don't they? They have IP addresses listed at an initial stage, and if the request hits that, the traffic is then redirected to a proxy where it narrows down the request further, comparing the actual URL to their list.

    That way, they can block single pages rather than just full sites and also prevent all traffic having to go via the proxies.

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    Encourage an ISP who's demonstrated they can't even check that they'd done scheduled maintenance properly to further mess around with our connection?

    Nope.

    As others have mentioned, the reason most of us run in-house filtering is because the LA provision was poor and insufficiently flexible/granular for our needs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkeh View Post
    As a comparison, we have had a LA controlled filter in the past and they will take our SW box out my cold dead hands.
    We've just wrestled control away from our LA and now have our own Smoothie - difference is like night and day!

    Quote Originally Posted by X-13 View Post
    Agree to what? They're just filtering it by default, you have no say in it. OK you can, sort of, turn it off. [Yep, OFF doesn't mean off any more.]
    There's always choice. Any ISP enables filters I don't agree to without asking will find their contract terminated fairly quickly and I'll take my custom elsewhere.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zag View Post
    So with the launch of proper filtering from ISPs finally are we going to see the death of expensive custom solutions like smootwall and Lightspeed?
    No, in fact I'd rather hope that home filtering would work the other way around - a school would make its filtering settings available to parents at home for them to apply to their home connections. Your home connection would be filtered, but you could be sure that there is someone (your child's school's IT team) activly managing the block list, and of course any sites wanted for homework and so on would be available. This strikes me as a fair way of doing things, and also a nice opportunity for Smoothwall, Lightspeed, etc to sell services to the home user.

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