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Wireless Networks Thread, EMBC - filtering - not fit for purpose? in Technical; This morning one of our post-16 art students did a search for celtic roundhouses. He used Google image search, as ...
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    EMBC - filtering - not fit for purpose?

    This morning one of our post-16 art students did a search for celtic roundhouses.

    He used Google image search, as you might do yourselves, and got a nice page full of images of roundhouses back. Great. Going well so far.

    But, click on any one of them and he got this:



    Our RBC - EMBC - has apparently decided that parts of Google is an anonymous proxy website and therefore the results of certain searches can be blocked.

    Oh for the love of pete!

    I know schools internet access needs to be filtered, but there's filtered and there's over filtered. And when teaching and learning is impacted, I'd definately say that someone somewhere has seriously overstepped the mark!

    Anybody else in the EMBC region getting this problem or have issues where the filtering service gets seriously in the way of ordinary teaching?

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Technically, EMBC is correct. It's possible to use both the Google translator and the caching service (which the image service uses to display a preview) to bypass some of the more crude filtering software.

    More sophisticated filtering software (I'm using Dansguardian) avoids this issue by looking at the content of the page rather than just what domain/url the page came from and bases it's filtering decision on that (dynamically too, if you like).

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    tom_newton's Avatar
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    Obviously a "Url within URl" checker - this will pick up a heck of a lot of false positives, and is not a sensible thing to do at all We check the URL within the URL to see if it is in a blocklist, which results in http://proxy.foo.com?url=http://www.myspace.com being blocked as "myspace" rather than proxy. Not that many proxies are as unsubtle as that any longer.

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    ive just been in contact with the embc over the same problem apperantly the sweaper program isnt currently working and it has been loged. they are currently working to correct the problem

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    rush_tech's Avatar
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    Yes there is a problem with Netsweeper their exact words
    "Please note that you may be experiencing problems accessing websites this morning. An error message will appear stating the following: The site you have chosen has been categorised as a proxy anonymizer site. This fault is currently being investigated. When further information is available an update will be provided. Master call reference 43776. Apologies for any inconvenience caused."

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    Quote Originally Posted by rush_tech View Post
    "Apologies for any inconvenience caused."

    I seriously doubt they know the meaning of the word sometimes!

    Thanks for the feedback. Unfortunately our LA service desk can be less-than-cooperative at times and this wasn't filtered through to us when we rang and complained to them about it - they just said something along the lines of "because it's in a period of transition, any service change requests will have to wait until after the swap over to Synetrix".



    I had to laugh when it was pointed out to me by a colleague earlier on that the Kudos Online site was being filtered out because it was a phishing site!
    Last edited by TheCrust; 29th January 2008 at 02:01 PM.

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    Edu-IT's Avatar
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    Will Synetrix continue to use Netsweeper?

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    I have no firm idea to be honest but I have a vague recollection it would be retained.

    From a recent briefing between south-derbyshire network managers, the Derbyshire networks team and EMBC, I understand that their platform will be based heavily around MS services unlike the current Fujitsu offerings which are in some cases quite bespoke.

    As such, the webmail facility will be replaced by OWA with a different front end depending on which age range / school family the user belongs to, the current squid proxy will be replaced with an ISA equivalent (or a cluster I presume) and sharepoint will come in at some stage too. The h323 functionality will be provided by something different (as ISA doesn't, despite what it claims on the tin).

    There will be the facility for a RBC-wide AD infrastructure / forest should you be brave enough to entrust this to them. Personally I'm out on that one at the moment but they do claim to have a lot of experience in SSO and making disseperate systems talk to one another.

    In Derbyshire the Community Gateway will be replaced with something more functional (userfriendly and hopefully better to look at!) but I couldn't say what other LA areas under the EMBC umbrella are getting.

    They are also looking to offer network-based backup services which could be a substitute for taking your last set of good backup tapes home with you (which is a practice that is much to the annoyance of our LA audit department - who insist they should stay on-site and be destroyed in whatever fire/flood/theft strikes the school, yet winge when they feel the data is inadequately protected.....)

    Whatever they base the platform on, I have more confidence in them to do the job than the abilities Fujitsu currently demonstrate. However because of past blunderings (on the part of Fujitsu we presume) Synetrix will have a long battle ahead of them to reassure schools - certainly those I've spoken with in Derbyshire - that EMBC have changed and are something that can be relied on.
    Last edited by TheCrust; 29th January 2008 at 02:20 PM. Reason: Forgot a bit. D'oh!

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    All authorities will either have had meetings with Network Managers or they are planned. This should cover things specific to your authority, but also generic roadmap of EMBC and services from Synetrix ...

    I haven't been to recent TOC meetings so I can't comment too much but if you can be patient with EMBC whilst Fujitsu go and Synetrix come in. I will also post firm details tomorrow (once I get back to the office and all the flamin' paperwork) the details of Proxy / filtering services.

    Can EMBC schools also remember that you can request local control of filtering and add sites into your whitelist. If you do not have local control then yes, it is not possible to change at this time due to the transition, but once your transition period of 2 weeks is over you will start to see changes.

  10. Thanks to GrumbleDook from:

    Edu-IT (29th January 2008)

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    Pottsey's Avatar
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    Not a fan of Netsweeper either mostly as I can only get two results from it. Block to much make the internet useless or let way too much though.
    Just in case someone missed this.

    embc Migration Briefings
    February 2008

    Two FREE places per school are available.

    Wednesday 20th February – Dakota Hotel (Annesley)
    Directions: NG15 0DA or www.dakotahotels.co.uk/location.htm
    • 9.15 – 10.45
    • 11.15 – 12.45
    • 2.00 – 3.30
    • 4.00 – 5.30

    Thursday 21st February - Boughton Pumping Station (New Ollerton)
    Directions: NG22 9HQ or http://www.nottsent.co.uk/_htm/edwinstowe_boughton.php then click on ‘To view our location map, please click here’ (foot of the web page)

    • 9.15 – 10.45
    • 11.15 – 12.45
    • 2.00 – 3.30
    • 4.00 – 5.30

    Monday 25th February – Ruddington Grange Golf & Country Club (Ruddington)
    Directions: NG11 6NB or www.ruddingtongrange.com/location.htm
    • 9.15 – 10.45
    • 11.15 – 12.45
    • 2.00 – 3.30

  12. Thanks to Pottsey from:

    GrumbleDook (30th January 2008)

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