Thursday, March 16, 2006

The proxies

When I came to my school everyone was talking about the Novell BorderManager proxy that everyone had to go through in order to access the Internet. Back then the filter blocked on general subject and often denied access to sites that were part of the curriculum, so the filter had to be adjusted. At the end of freshman year it had been programmed to return false on certain URLs, and it stayed that way until recently.

The reason for the inefficacy of the filter then was how easy bypassing it was. The filter was set in place only when the Internet Options (whose window wasn't blocked!) had the proxy checkboxes ticked and the proxy pointed to 10.10.1.2:8080. On certain computers (including six in the library), the checkboxes could just be unticked and the filter would be lifted, since there was an unintentionally planted LAN in the school. It became a pasttime to look for computers that were connected to the forbidden LAN — until Christmas break ended. When we returned, the school was in the process of changing all of the computers, and from how they were all formatted the 'forbidden LAN' now encompassed the entire campus.

This was until today, when a scrap of paper landed on my table at lunch. Inscribed on it were several arrangements that I recognised as numbers and ports — and from what the passer told me, they were proxy directions that he used to get around the filter that replaced BorderManager two weeks before. Because the new blocker was in the way of most of the network, the passer had to look at home for public pointers; at school many of them worked but the administration had quickly caught on to the scheme and cut off the proxies. Such methods exercised by the students, however, were signs that the king-must-die perseverance of the student body to get to MySpace was not about to let up.

Recently I read in an article in the Press of Atlantic City about the Vineland district's blocking method and the cause for blocking certain sites such as MySpace. Apparently there has been a rash in attacks that resulted as a result of what was posted on the site, which has led to an expulsion hearing in California for someone that outlined a death plan on their profile page as well as increased sex attacks.

For these reasons — and the fact that the site was vestigial in administrators' eyes, referring to its devolution from one of the dating sites that eHarmony and Match.com are now — and the students' clamour to the site to arrange online meetings or, in the cases of those with social impediments, outlets of communication, MySpace will continue to be blocked. Each proxy will be blocked. And when it comes to the fact that people are using that site to communicate with others whenever they can scavenge for free time, they should consider forums, many of which are mercifully unblocked and offer experiences similar to those found on MySpace chatrooms.

And pooh pooh to those on PKMN.NET that go there!

1 comment:

Dracon said...

Wow. The students at your school are unusually determined to sneak around the security. I wish people at my school were that sneaky, or at least that smart.... *sigh*