Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Kids outsmart Web filters | CNET

Kids outsmart Web filters | CNET "Kids outsmart Web filters By Stefanie Olsen Staff Writer, CNET Published: April 19, 2006 4:00 AM PST Last November, Ryan, a high-school sophomore, figured out a way to outsmart the Web filters on a school PC in order to visit the off-limits while doing 'homework' in the computer lab. A teacher eventually spotted the social network on the screen in front of 'Ryan,' a fictitious name for a real student attending school in Phoenix, Ore., a small town with a population of about 5,000. The teacher flagged the activity for the school's technology expert, who then followed Ryan's tracks online through the school network. Ryan had apparently set up a so-called Web proxy from his home computer so that when he was at school, he could direct requests for banned sites like MySpace through a Web address at home, thereby tricking the school's filter. (Web, or CGI, proxies can be Web sites or applications that allow users to access other sites through them.) 'I eventually tracked down the (Internet Protocol) address, so that it doesn't work for him anymore,' said Don Wolff, tech coordinator in the Phoenix-Talent School District, adding that Ryan didn't face disciplinary action. 'It's against our acceptable-use policy, but he's not going to quit trying, (and this way) we can keep learning.' 'This is a hot new trend among kids for getting around Web filters,' Wolff said. 'It's going to be the constant battle. No matter what you put up, kids are going to work around it.' -- Lynn Beebe, school counselor Web proxies are almost as old as the Internet itself as a means to route Web traffic through an anonymous domain name or circumvent content-filters, and they've long been the territory of corporate networks and the tech savvy seeking privacy. Nowadays, an increasing number of teenagers are setting up proxies on home PCs to sidestep school filtering traps, in addition to using free proxies set up on the Web, according to technologists at schools and at content-filtering technology providers." ......

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