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FreedomDown.net Under Investigation

I have never entirely shared Erik’s passion to provide internet filter bypassing services to the masses, but it is something that is important to him, and I am one who strongly believes that, in general, more information is good. On the other hand, I can understand the district’s filtering for, say, pornography or pirating sites, or anything else that many taxpayers (who support the schools and pay for things like the internet to the school) would generally object to funding access to.

But why, for example, are email sites filtered? In this digital age, filtering email is like breaking a tennis player’s legs and expecthing her to win. Email is vital, especially to clubs like the TRC where it is the primary form of communication. Blocking email at school is a good way of ensuring that team leaders are kept out of the loop until they get home, not the most ideal of situations. Nevertheless, the long and short of it is that while I don’t share Erik’s passion, I don’t mind it, and I certianly don’t mind spreading the word the the wonderful Bellevue School District has suspended Erik’s student account while investigating his site, FreedomDown.net.

I suggest that you go read about it at Erik’s blog, “Unknown Rebel.

7 Responses to “FreedomDown.net Under Investigation”

  1. Erik Thulin Says:

    Yes, all email accounts area blocked.
    I also offer gmaillite on my site, to allow students to access email.

    The intent of the filtering is not to prevent only porn and warez, it is to prevent students from accessing anything that does not fit it the very strict restrictions of “school use”.
    For example, 2600.com is blocked, a %100 legal, non-game, information providing sites.

  2. Erik Thulin Says:

    One other thing, the one email provider i have found that is not blocked is bluebottle.com.

  3. Erik Thulin Says:

    FYI I made a comment before that, it did not go through. I am not sure if it went into moderation or something, just a heads up.

  4. Ryan Says:

    Yeah, that pr0n word gets you moderated.

  5. Daniel Marsh Says:

    I have been circumventing “Bess” since the early ninties and can attest to how poor it is as a censorship tool. I remember trying to look up information for a paper on civil liberties, only to find that sites like the ACLU were blocked. It was almost impossible to get the library Nazi to unlock access to such sites for legitimate use in anything like a timely manner. I helped many students circumvent Bess over the years by using a relatively transparent web based proxy that was cleverly hidden on a page about cooking of all things. I would generally have it remove all images and special formatting, so regardless of what I was viewing, it would just look like this cooking page! I remember the Nazi was always giving us weird looks and scratching her head whenever she would see us on this page, but she never seemed to catch on…

  6. Erik Thulin Says:

    Well two things have changed.

    Durring the time you were at BSD there was no federal funding attached to filtering. After that happened they decided that they needed better filtering, and they now use websense.

    The second thing: the cooking proxy got blocked this year :(.

  7. Kyle Says:

    I have bess at my highschool, id really like to find a way to just disable it because it is extremely annoying i have to keep on finding new proxy servers, i have had a proxy server on my computer using CGIwin i think… i havnt used it in a while, they removed the tab in the tools=internet opetions the proxy lan settings that you type in a proxy to bypass the system, i tried downloading firefox but it seems as if it just wont work, im thinking my school runs through a proxy server itself i really want to be able to be free on the internet before the end of my seinor year this year because ive been working on this thing for 2 years now and i still havnt beaten it, i hate these filtering programs, if anyone has any questions or would like to help me out ill be checking back periodically, i dont normally check my e-mail but you can always leave me a message on aim my sn is wednesdayslatest, please if anyone can help me i really want to do something about this

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