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Internet Related/Filtering/Firewall Thread, Mobile broadband in school. in Technical; Hi All we are starting to see these 3g/mobile broadband dongles pop up, Staff, 6th formers bringing in laptops, even ...
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    Mobile broadband in school.

    Hi All
    we are starting to see these 3g/mobile broadband dongles pop up, Staff, 6th formers bringing in laptops, even some lower school.
    As our system stands, only an admin could install one on a domain machine, so thats not the issue - its more about the what ifs and the unfiltered internet access.
    what sort of policies do you have in place? what would you suggest?
    Thanks
    Mark

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    There essentially isnt much you can do other than ban personal laptops, which then becomes a problem with enforcing it. It's a similar problem with people who bring in smart phones, turn on their 3g and access facebook whilst in school. If they logon via the domain, its banned, they just get their phone out. What can we do about it? Nothing.

    Thankfully we dont have too big a problem with it as lower school (year 7-11) dont bring in their personal laptops, we allow Sixth Form to though but I havent a clue if any bring in their dongles.......

    Again, the problem isnt putting rules in place, its enforcing those rules and who is responsible for it....

    Isnt it a safeguarding issue as opposed to an IT issue?

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    Pete10141748's Avatar
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    Do you allow staff and students to connect their own laptops to your network? Or are they simply bringing them in to do offline things and some have twigged they can use a dongle to get internet without needing a 'school computer' and without being filtered and tracked?

    Policy-wise you could go down the route of adding something to the AUP that states any website visited while on the school grounds must only be accessed using a school-provided computer which is connected to your domain and accesses the internet via your proxy and by using the appropriate filtering levels (however that is done at your school/college).

    As was said above though, the problem is not so much the 'putting it in the policy' as it is in the enforcing of it - what are going to be the consequences to individuals if they break the AUP and bring in a dongle? Confiscation of the dongle until the end of day? Banning of their user accounts? It's a very tricky one, and we all know that telling a child they can't do something often results in them wanting to do it all the more!

    Ultimately the reason is a safeguarding children one, not merely an ICT issue; perhaps you should discuss it with your management and make them aware of the risks and consequences of a pupil accessing something inappropriate via their own internet dongle in school?

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    Hi
    Thanks for input so far,
    Staff have school laptops which of course have access to the school internet (and consequent filtering) However staff are local admins of the laptop and are free to take them home and use their home internet , including 3g,
    Sixth formers can and do bring in their own kit, but they dont get access to the network except in certain circumstances.
    Some lower school have laptops, almost always as a result of a specific special need being identified and meant to be for offline use, a few of these have sneaked in a dongle which only gets noticed when they are suddenly on facebook.
    At the moment there is nothing in the aup so its been dealt with on an individual basis.
    Just canvassing opinions before advising on some sort of guidance for SLT.
    Thanks Mark

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    plexer's Avatar
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    If you have a policy on mobile phones in school use the same thing for the dongles?

    Ben

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    Pete10141748's Avatar
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    I suppose because of the un-filtered and in-controllable nature of the dongle-internet you have only two real options; allow them to use them but only during free periods when they are allowed, or a blanket ban of all internet dongles. If it was my school, I would be banning them tbh. There is no need for them if staff have laptops, and pupils have sufficient access to computers for ICT lessons and research if required; allowing them to be used on the basis of educational purposes (ie trying to argue that it gives pupils greater access to learning resources) would be very difficult to prove, especially when pupils can get unfiltered internet for things like Facebook and YouTube; that's a very dodgy road to go down!
    Last edited by Pete10141748; 24th November 2010 at 02:20 PM.

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    AngryTechnician's Avatar
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    Basically this comes down to rules, discipline, and perhaps most importantly, making it crystal clear to the parents that if a pupil uses their own connection to the Internet, the school cannot be held responsible for anything they do on it. As plexer suggests, it should really substantially the same as the schools mobile phone policy.

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    We have setup a Sixth Form wireless on (i think) a radius server (or something) that makes then authenticate when they open a web browser, they then go through our smoothwall filtering. Again, if they choose to bring in their own dongle and browse then thats upto them!

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    At my daughter's school, the students are encouraged to bring in their own laptops which they can use through the school;s filtered public wireless.

    There is an AUP for them bringing the stuff into school which I'll try to track down... it covers much the same as the mobile phone policy

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