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Internet Filtering and Public WIFI

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#1 status - Carpathia

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 04:03 PM

Starbucks, McDonalds, Among others, censor their free WIFI - There's a disturbing reasonal why the chains are weeding out porn.
McDonald’s recently announced it has deployed filters on its complimentary WiFi service at its restaurants across the world. However, Starbucks appears to be the latest major chain to declare that its WiFi service will filter X-rated websites, reported CNN.
McDonald’s had insisted that the decision to block explicit online content was taken to protect families and, more specifically, children from sexually explicit content being accessed on the premises. Incidentally, while Starbucks has decided to filter their WiFi, they haven’t begun the process, revealed their official statement.
“Once we determine that our customers can access our free Wi-Fi in a way that also doesn’t involuntarily block unintended content, we will implement this in our stores. In the meantime, we reserve the right to stop any behavior that interferes with our customer experience, including what is accessed on our free Wi-Fi.”
What that essentially means is Starbucks might be actively monitoring what content its customers access when they are sitting in one of the many cafes across the globe. Until the software can take over the process of weeding out websites that offer adult content, the chain might have to rely on older monitoring techniques to prevent access to pornographic websites.
How Internet Filtering Hurts Kids
Zealously blocking their access to certain websites can end up undermining learning.
At the core of the ongoing debate is a law passed by Congress in 2000 that mandates all public libraries and schools that receive federal funds for Internet access install blocking software. The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) specifically requires schools and libraries to block or filter Internet access to pictures and material that are “obscene, child pornography, or harmful to minors” on computers that are used by students under 17 years of age. The fundamental question has been how schools are interpreting the law—and whether districts are acting in the best interests of children or simply functioning as online overlords.
In Maine, Portland Public Schools in April 2012 installed filters on high-school students’ school-issued laptops that banned access to social networks, games, and video-streaming sites. At the time, Portland was among the first districts in the state to authorize such stringent filtering on take-home school devices. As the Press Herald reported, Portland High School students had very different responses to the new policy, based on their access to another computer at home: “…those from middle-class families expressed various degrees of annoyance when told of the new filtering measures. A group of immigrant students reacted with anger.”
What’s more, in-depth conversations with the families revealed that districts blocked YouTube at school, as well as on school-supplied devices, because some content was deemed inappropriate. And the consequences were steep. “Parents and children depended on YouTube to support homework time, including tutorials to solve math problems and to learn more about historical characters. The problem is that these platforms are multi-use, and those uses change too quickly for district [filtering] policies to easily keep up.”
Colleges and Hotels Blocking WiFi Signals: Safety or Censorship?
Hotel giant Marriott International was issued a $600,000 fine back in August of 2014 for using signal-jamming technology to block the use of personal Wifi hotspots (like those in many cellphones). This was done only in conference rooms and meeting areas, not in guest rooms or public lobbies, however the “where” is far less important than the “what” and the “why.” Marriott had petitioned the Federal Communications Commission for the right to use such technology “whether through clarifying some existing FCC policies or by creating a new rule entirely that would address the situation.” The fine was levied because they went ahead with the action before hearing back.
The blocking of personal hotspots essentially forced visitors using the conference and meeting areas to purchase WiFi access from the hotel, which is an expensive proposition. Marriott argues that the action was taken to protect guests from potential hacking and rogue signals over WiFi networks it couldn’t monitor; opponents say it amounts to a hostile sales technique.
While it may be one of the points of the Marriott argument, the question regarding college campuses is worth discussing as well. Do students have a right to free and untethered access to all of the Internet, at as high a volume of data exchange as they choose? Or is it right to enforce some regulations, limiting individual freedoms for the greater good?

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#2 status - Guest

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Posted 03 August 2017 - 04:45 PM

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#3 Ghost in the Machine

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 04:55 PM

Learn to use proxies or a vpn.

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#4 status - Lynn

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Posted 25 August 2017 - 11:48 PM

I can't see glp or lop at my local library.


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