New Internet Filter

Discussions about Internet service providers (ISPs), the Meetinghouse Firewall, wired and wireless networking, usage, management, and support of Meetinghouse Internet
russellhltn
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Re: New Internet Filter

Postby russellhltn » Mon Mar 24, 2014 4:35 pm

pbarnsley wrote:The question to ask is, what is the churches risk appetite? Do they mind the bad press when some sicko downloads or shares child porn through the church connection?


There is a filter solution in place. By this time, I think things would have been closed down. Speaking for myself, I think the public would view the church as a victim. There's any number of private, unfiltered, unsecured sites out there for those types of people to use.

While I have not seen it happen, there is verbiage that suggests that usage is monitored, and if something was discovered, the stake president would be notified.
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russellhltn
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Re: New Internet Filter

Postby russellhltn » Tue Mar 25, 2014 3:02 pm

Received updated email indicating that alternate DNS will be filtered sometime after April 21st.

It also indicated that requests for new sites to be allowed are to be filtered though the STS rather then through a link provided by the block screen.
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johnshaw
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Re: New Internet Filter

Postby johnshaw » Tue Mar 25, 2014 7:18 pm

as an sts I will refer everyone to call the GSC if they want something added to the filter. STS have enough to do without being a roadblock to direct feedback from endusers that could be automated easily. The only reason to do something like this that the design will actually discourage end user requests...

I'm just about to ask for 1% tithing refund for all the work being piled up on STS.
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russellhltn
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Re: New Internet Filter

Postby russellhltn » Tue Mar 25, 2014 8:14 pm

johnshaw wrote:as an sts I will refer everyone to call the GSC if they want something added to the filter. STS have enough to do without being a roadblock to direct feedback from endusers that could be automated easily.

I believe the reason to filter it though the STS is to see if the request has a legitimate church purpose. And yes, I do think it's to discourage improper end user requests.
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johnshaw
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Re: New Internet Filter

Postby johnshaw » Wed Mar 26, 2014 6:34 am

I understand why a decision like this could be made, I understand that there are STS who could correctly evaluate whether a request is 'viable' or not, but there are MANY, MANY who are just not qualified. Additionally, there are VASTLY differing opinions on what constitutes 'proper' usage of Meetinghouse Internet - those opinions will color the responses by an STS.

If the Church were to include an automated system for requesting sites be opened, they could follow whatever Rules they already have in place for the filter (which STS are not given access to) - there must be some kind of guideline used for our 'filtering service' to follow. Additionally the automated system would include ALL entries from EVERY person requesting access. If the church receives 1000 requests for a particular site that is much different than receiving the several that might filter up to CHQ.

Legitimate sites will not be opened, because not enough STS will care or take time to really process the requests -- and even if the STS does find the time for this absolutely mind-numbing time-consuming work, CHQ will not have an accurate representation of the # of requests that are really coming because an STS may have 100 requests for the same site, but that only comes into CHQ as a single request. Plus, you already have the filter for end users that don't want to bother with telling the STS because in the past nothing has ever happened, or it's just kinda dumb to have to send an email or catch someone in the hall, call them on the phone or txt to make the request.

The filtering company we use ALREADY has a mechanism for gathering these requests, and sending them to CHQ for evaluation, a single service missionary could look at those requests weekly and can quickly categorize the 'nonsense' the 'makes sense' and using the weight of the # of requests a quick decision could be made to include or not.

Just my own 2cents
“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.”

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russellhltn
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Re: New Internet Filter

Postby russellhltn » Wed Mar 26, 2014 11:14 am

johnshaw wrote:I understand why a decision like this could be made, I understand that there are STS who could correctly evaluate whether a request is 'viable' or not, but there are MANY, MANY who are just not qualified.

If they're not qualified, then that needs to be fixed, not worked around.

Since the STS is an appendage to the stake presidency, he certainly has good resources to consult if there's any question if the site serves a church purpose.

You know darn well that if the general membership was to submit requests there would be 10,000 requests to unblock ESPN. The reason for valid requests may not be so obvious. So by filtering it though the leadership, the church can distinguish between local needs and general membership wants.
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pbarnsley
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Re: New Internet Filter

Postby pbarnsley » Wed Mar 26, 2014 1:09 pm

russellhltn wrote:Received updated email indicating that alternate DNS will be filtered sometime after April 21st.

It also indicated that requests for new sites to be allowed are to be filtered though the STS rather then through a link provided by the block screen.


I will be surprised if this actually changes anything, our youth already just use youtube by typing in the ip address. I will check it after the 21st april.

from what I have seen lds wifi is not well filtered if at all. it doesn't matter if the church eventually notices in the logs, the reputational damage is done. without either limiting access to a small pool of whitelisted sites or strong user authentication there is no way to take effective action as you cant identify the user or pretend that we are the victims as we have not fulfilled our responsibility to secure our access.

I don't care that places like mcdonalds and starbucks allow free access. we are a church, not a fast food outlet. We generally have a defined community of users, or at least that is how the media will see it.

perhaps in Utah the media will play the church as a victim. I can tell you for a fact that will not be the case in the rest of the world. the media loves to over sensationalise things (or just lie).

I hope the church siro and sro take note (if we have them)

russellhltn
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Re: New Internet Filter

Postby russellhltn » Wed Mar 26, 2014 1:27 pm

pbarnsley wrote:I will be surprised if this actually changes anything, our youth already just use youtube by typing in the ip address. I will check it after the 21st april.


A better test would be gambling.com since I think the church may have changed it's position on YouTube.
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JamesAnderson
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Re: New Internet Filter

Postby JamesAnderson » Mon Apr 07, 2014 1:32 pm

On DNS filtering, it only really works well in relation to certain spam gang sites, as they use ranges that are known and in fact are or should be blocked by most reputable content filters.

But most garden-variety sites are hosted on servers that may contain several totally unrelated domains, and some IP's will have millions of domains, which may include everything from genealogy to pornography on those domains, mostly though the individual domains will run the gamut of harmless content, other than the fact that the content may be 'time-wasting' in terms of being viewed in Church meetings.

So domain-based filtering is probably going to be best, Zscaler does a reasonably good job, but is not the best it could be. And user email services like Yahoo have seen an uptick of banner ads (in Yahoo Mail this has become a serious problem in the last two weeks, where fake designer goods websites are now taking out ads), and so it's getting harder for a filtering service that does not seem to have a human back end to catch that stuff. Let alone the pornography. In fact, they usually block on sight anything that is blacklisted by Spamhaus, SURBL, or other domain blacklists, and that only for spam. They missed all four sites that I have encountered via Yahoo StreamAds in my email interface, so that stuff is getting through. I gave them to other filtering company support teams who physically eyeballed the sites then had them blocked right away, seeing the problems, but I don't think Zscaler has trapped those yet.

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johnshaw
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Re: New Internet Filter

Postby johnshaw » Tue Apr 08, 2014 5:48 am

russellhltn wrote:You know darn well that if the general membership was to submit requests there would be 10,000 requests to unblock ESPN. The reason for valid requests may not be so obvious. So by filtering it though the leadership, the church can distinguish between local needs and general membership wants.


And I see no problem getting a monthly report from the service provider, handing it to a Service Missionary and asking them to evaluate the requests against a given set of rules (again that obviously exist, but that STS have NO access to), make a suggestion and pass it to the person who can make the final decision. Why does an STS need to be involved at all? If anything an STS could provide a conduit for the local needs that would be considered a 'higher' priority, or weighted priority coming in, but even then, I don't see an STS being able to get something approved, that wouldn't require the Stake President signing off on it anyway, so again, why bother the STS.
“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.”

― Thomas Paine, Common Sense


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