School Oppression??

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School Oppression??

Post by PyratedKat453 on Thu Jan 15, 2015 8:40 pm
([msg=86306]see School Oppression??[/msg])

I go to a private school, where all students used to enjoy freedom of the network to do whatever we pleased. Now, the admins are blocking our social media apps and completely censoring what pages we can view. The students are enraged, and claim this cuts us off from outside information, and only seeing the information they want us to see.

These new changes don't affect me (encryptions), but should the other "coders" and I take actions in freeing the network, or are they in the right?
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Re: School Oppression??

Post by Iblist on Thu Jan 15, 2015 10:24 pm
([msg=86308]see Re: School Oppression??[/msg])

Well, they own and mantain the network, so they can do whatever they want in that regard. But I think this is more of an ethics question.

I'm of two minds; if they're blocking social networking sites like instagram, twitter etc. I completely agree with this. You're at this school, (and indeed paying large amounts of money to be at this school), to learn, not to update your status. As someone who has sat behind people who spent entire lectures on instagram, it can be incredibly distracting. So I see no problem with them doing that.

Now, if they're preventing you from accessing certain sites which may contain information contrary to the ideals of the school, then I can see a problem. If my goal is to learn, I should not be restricted to what sources (facebook is not a valid source) I look at.

Side note, encrypted data stands out like a sore thumb if it's surrounded by unencrypted data. That's basically how China keeps people from bypassing their filters and firewalls. It doesn't matter what you're sending, if it's encrypted, the police are going to be knocking on your door and dragging your sorry ass off to prison. So just be aware that you're not invisible, even if your data is encrypted. They don't know where it's going, but they can probably find out where it's being sent from.
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Re: School Oppression??

Post by parakkafaith on Fri Jan 16, 2015 12:20 am
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PyratedKat453 wrote:should the other "coders" and I take actions in freeing the network, or are they in the right?


Both. Like Iblis said, they own and maintain the network. They certainly have the right to do what they're doing.

That being said, I'm rather passionate about keeping information free and accessible. I know that in this case the sites being blocked are hardly considered informative, but I don't think there's much room to be picky when it comes to this kind of censorship. As always, I welcome ambivalence, but this is not a trend I'd like to play any part in perpetuating.

On principle, I say take action. Reasonable, safe, and legal action.
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Re: School Oppression??

Post by cyberdrain on Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:54 am
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parakkafaith wrote:On principle, I say take action. Reasonable, safe, and legal action.

Well, it's pretty hard to get students to gather signatures and stand their ground in this case, but it's possible. Complain to parents, gather signatures and do whatever you can to prevent this. Network censorship probably won't hold for long, unless you don't fight against it and it becomes permanent. A private school has much to lose in terms of reputation and money if people suddenly decided to quit going there... ;) (not that I would suggest you use that of course)
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Re: School Oppression??

Post by pretentious on Sat Jan 17, 2015 8:26 am
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This is an interesting ethical question because in all likely hood, You have in one way or another, agreed to their terms of use.
It's like 'I hereby agree to.. yada yadda check box' hang on a minute!! facebook is being unreasonable :'(
Who's seen the south part ep human centipad? :P

Also '...The students are enraged....only seeing the information they want us to see...' I have friends living in China and HK :|
Goatboy wrote:Oh, that's simple. All you need to do is dedicate many years of your life to studying security.

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Re: School Oppression??

Post by PyratedKat453 on Mon Jan 19, 2015 9:11 am
([msg=86369]see Re: School Oppression??[/msg])

Thanks for your feedback. Iblist, your concern for my encryption is appreciated, but I'm making a bigger haystack for the wonderful admins to look through
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Re: School Oppression??

Post by Defte on Mon Jan 11, 2016 12:09 pm
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I gotta say that these admins are kinda right, when you're at school it's to work not to be on your phones watching facebook and so on... But i believe that informations should be free so i pretty not like the fact that they prevent your from going on certains websites..
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Re: School Oppression??

Post by Jbraithwaite on Tue Jan 12, 2016 4:25 am
([msg=91258]see Re: School Oppression??[/msg])

I'm a school admin and I kind of sit on the fence on this one. I want to relax things a bit, however, my hands are tied. You have to understand that heads will roll if anything compromises the data security on the network. People will actually lose their jobs if anyone gets in and steals data to distribute it. Things like FB, twitter and other social media are blocked for time wasting and cyber-bullying reasons. I once had a pupil upload a picture to FB in a class on his 4G of the teachers ass as she bent down. There was uproar and there's nothing we could have done to stop it. There would have been hell to pay if he was able to do that on the wifi.

Kids can't be trusted to to do the right thing on a school network. They have no boundaries and no real sense of consequence. You might be different, but there's likely another 1200 folk who won't think responsibly.

Measures need to be in place for any outcome possible. Prevention is better than cure. All it takes is for an unblocked site to have a browser hijack and boom it's in the network with the full permissions of the user logged in. It has access to server shares, and everything IP based. A user can be connected to many servers at once. Total devastation, and weeks worth of recovery from back ups.

Internet filter servers like Smoothwall, Akami, BLOXX, Websense and the others run a category based blocking system. If a site meets the category it's either allowed or blocked based on the policies for that user group. Some sites are uncategorised and they get blocked under default global policies, however, it's not the IT people that are actively going out to prevent your net freedom. It's mostly automated until we're told otherwise to block or unblock. Crikey for about 3 months Lemonparty was unblocked on our network because no one knew what it was.

Net safety is not being taught in schools because most of the teachers and staff also don't practice it. They all have to surf the web in a safety bubble. It's far too risky and I wouldn't be relaxing the lot of it and risk my job just so someone could get access to social media.

I don't see why any kid in this modern era needs to access their FB account on multiple devices anyway. Surely you can just use your phone and data connection? Unless your reasons for lightening the net restrictions aren't actually to use social media at all.
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Re: School Oppression??

Post by cyberdrain on Tue Jan 12, 2016 11:25 am
([msg=91274]see Re: School Oppression??[/msg])

@Jbraithwaite: Without quoting everything, I think it's the wrong way to go about it. First, security should be good enough to handle everything the students throw at it (heck, teachers click on bad links too now and again, that's no excuse). Second, a school is an institution of learning, how can you teach safety on the net if they're not allowed to practice it? Third, in the real world everyone is balancing work with play all the time, might as well start teaching how to do that in school. Cyber-bullying, time wasting and information getting out isn't going to be blocked by blocked internet access anyway, as you've shown. I understand where you're coming from, but punishing all for a few bad apples actually reinforces the 'not having an understanding of the consequences'.

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Re: School Oppression??

Post by Jbraithwaite on Tue Jan 12, 2016 2:57 pm
([msg=91279]see Re: School Oppression??[/msg])

Thats why I'm on the fence with it. Our place is full of oldies who prefer chalkboards and books to the net. Stuck between a rock and a hard place. I wanted to do weekly sessions on security and social engineering techniques for staff and it was said that it would complicate their work too much.

I wanted to set up a dummy domain with old servers and switches we have so the kids could do what they liked. That was knocked on it's head right out the bat. The kit is lying there doing nothing.

In the hunt for a new job to be honest.
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