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Ethics of Proxy Servers?

Cliff posted more than 7 years ago | from the a-double-edged-sword dept.

Censorship 194

Mav asks: "I was recently asked to host a website for free in return for a lot of advertising. After querying them about how they knew the site would produce traffic they stated the site was going to be running PHPProxy (an open source web proxy). The traffic was a result of him and his contacts (nearly one thousand of them) using the site to bypass his school's firewall in order to view their MySpace pages and get access to their MSN messengers. Given all the attention social networking sites have recently received and the various laws attempting to block or control access to them I feel guilty and unsure making this available. Are there legal implications that I need to worry about? Could I be held liable if one of the students got in trouble? Most importantly, what's the moral thing to do?"

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194 comments

I Don't Know Your Morals (5, Insightful)

stinerman (812158) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050152)

You need to find out for yourself what the moral thing is. I believe it is moral to help people gain access to information, so I'd do it. Do you?

As far as the legal aspects, I doubt there are any laws in your jurisdiction regarding setting up a proxy to get around a school's filtering software, but then again, you can always be charged for contributing to the delinquency of a minor for anything these days.

Re:I Don't Know Your Morals (0)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050208)

I believe it is moral to help people gain access to information, so I'd do it. Do you?

MySpace != information.

Re:I Don't Know Your Morals (1)

chaoticgeek (874438) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050526)

I agree. Anyways since they are at school they should not be looking up stuff for fun anyways. They are there to learn it would be different if say they were blocked from home because of uptight parents but they are at school and should be trying to learn instead. I remember high school it was boring but if it was blocked I just did something else if I did have the free time. Normally though they should be doing school work.

There is nothing good to gain from Myspace or MSN messenger anyways not like they help teach anything.

Boarding schools? (0, Redundant)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18053082)

Anyways since they are at school they should not be looking up stuff for fun anyways
What should a student who lives at school do after having completed all pending obligations for a class? Granted, in the United States, most boarding schools are post-secondary, but some are K-12.

Re:I Don't Know Your Morals (3, Interesting)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050550)

"MySpace != information."

No, but 1000 kids accessing it all the time will give you HUGE bandwidth bills.

Add to that the adverts (and the bandwidth for them)

And remember - proxying doubles the bandwidth used - your server has to first fetch the page (as opposed to looking on the local file system) and then it has to send it (after rewriting the page to include YOUR ads ...

Re:I Don't Know Your Morals (2, Insightful)

fruitbane (454488) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050844)

Who are you to determine what is and what is not information? Maybe most of what's on MySpace is, IMO, crap, but there's bound to be something of value in there. It could be argued that any communication at all is in some way an information-based activity. Who are any of us to say what is and isn't there without personally examining every page and every piece of content first?

Re:I Don't Know Your Morals (4, Funny)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050960)

Maybe most of what's on MySpace is, IMO, crap, but there's bound to be something of value in there.

You don't use MySpace, do you?

Re:I Don't Know Your Morals (1)

fruitbane (454488) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052098)

Do you? And if so, doesn't that mean that, on some level, there's some value in MySpace, at least to you?

Why? (5, Insightful)

pseudosero (1037784) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050180)

If you're even bothering to ask this question, then i believe you might not want to do it. School filters are annoying; the favor you would be doing is immense. But as to whether or not it is moral or not: is P2P, bittorrent, are pirates and people who share moral? Yes, question with a question. Why are you asking this question. ?.

The proxy admin is the unethical/immoral person. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18051876)

Schools are, as you should know, places of learning. This acquisition of knowledge extends far beyond the subjects that are taught in class. Students also learn social skills, for instance. They have to face the realities of the world, including drugs and sex.

So when we consider that schools are where students should learn about all topics, including those which may disgust and offend some people, we have to realize that the only people being immoral or unethical are those who set up the filtering proxy in the first place.

Mod parent up, please (4, Informative)

mysticgoat (582871) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052058)

If you're even bothering to ask this question, then i believe you might not want to do it.

Mod parent up, please.

It appears that author of TFA feels they face a moral dilemma and seeks the opinion of a peer group for an answer. Does anyone else see a problem with this behavior??

Not everyone has a strong moral compass, and that's okay. Not everyone needs one. And in any case we know so little about how morals and such are internalized that we can't even study the subject objectively, let alone provide anyone with a procedure for how to strengthen theirs.

Living without morals or ethics is not a great hindrance. For example, the last 20 odd years have shown that a man who is not ethically or morally encumbered can become the richest person on Earth. So don't worry about having a weak moral sense; there are other ways to lead a good life.

For instance, there are all kinds of WWJD models. Choose a couple of people who have made tough moral/ethical decisions that you admire and study them until you could predict what they would do when confronted with any of the tough problems you bump into. Then do the same thing as they would do. To an outsider, it would appear that you have a strong moral compass when all you are really doing is relying on your ability to imagine how some Good Guy would behave in the given situation. Heh, maybe that's all there is to this morality business— who could tell? It's pretty much a black box thing.

Another approach is to forego morals and ethics and all that internal crap that gets in the way of doing the clever thing. Instead, study the laws that apply directly to you, and the reactions of the neighborhoods you find yourself in, and determine from those studies what the boundaries of acceptable behavior are. Then give yourself the freedom to do anything you want within those boundaries. It isn't moral or ethical, and you'll end up with a bunch of people who don't like you very much, but it will keep you out of trouble, mostly. And you can become the richest man in the world using this approach— so it isn't such a bad way to live. Maybe.

I think the question author of TFA really wants to ask is whether the slashdot community would find him acceptable if it learned that he was doing this proxy bypass of high school rules. This is a legitimate question, and should have been asked outright, instead of wrapping it in a moral cloak.

I have a mild dislike for people who attempt to ferret out my likes and dislikes by posing these kinds of substitutiary "moral dilemma" questions. My feeling is that they should grow a pair and ask the hard question directly, providing specifics of the situation, rather than playing dumbass "would you still like me if" games.

My answer to the question that I think TFA would have asked if it wasn't pussyfooting around so much is this: the school has an obligation to the student and his family to act in "loco parentis" (look it up). If the school has banned MySpace, then providing a mechanism for students to get around that ban is equivalent to assisting a kid who has been grounded by his parents in slipping out the back door. I would want to know if the school's action was blocking all student access to certain web sites (constituting undue censorship) or simply causing students the inconvenience of having to wait until they got home or to the library or a cybercafe before they could satisfy their MySpace habit. Unless the case for undue censorship could be made, I would think that anyone assisting students in getting around the school's ban was a jerk. If there is a censorship issue, I would think that anyone profiting from the situation was reprehensible jerk.

That's just my opinion. There are a lot of BG idolizers on slashdot so I'm sure there are a lot of alternate opinions.

Re:Mod parent up, please (0, Offtopic)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 7 years ago | (#18053066)

> For example, the last 20 odd years have shown that a man who is not ethically or morally encumbered can become the richest person on Earth.

With that attitude you'll never be rich! Wealth has nothing to with morals, but attitude, and application. Money is just a tool to be used.

Why is it that the poor always complain about the rich not having morals?

Get off your ass and DO something about it, instead of whining about it, like learning about "The Power of Association" and hanging around with wealthy people. The universe has anything you could want in abundance; stop falling for the lie of "artificial scarcity."

--
A house is NOT an asset, if its costing you money to own it!

Boarding schools? (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18053140)

I would want to know if the school's action was blocking all student access to certain web sites (constituting undue censorship) or simply causing students the inconvenience of having to wait until they got home
In some schools, the students can go home only every six weeks if that often. On-campus housing is more common at universities, but some K-12 schools do operate this way. Is there a way for a given high school student's parent to override this block?

or to the library
Some of these proposed bans apply to school libraries and to public libraries as well.

Re:Mod parent up, please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18053210)

If I was in my school, I couldn't read this because it has the WORD proxy used. I couldn't read this site because it allows non-premoderated comments. Practically all free website hosts are blocked, as is almost anything to do with gaming or basic computing principles.

Re:Mod parent up, please (1)

RH_Jesus_Freak40 (939635) | more than 7 years ago | (#18054106)

My school also blocks all free hosts, along with other useful pages. Many of the technology teachers hate the filtering system, because it stops them from doing certain lesson plans ex: the Web teacher used to have a project where the students would make a site, then upload it to a free host, and maintain it, updating it, etc. Now he can't. The Computer Art teacher used to have her AP Computer Art students look up tutorials and get ideas for projects by going to sites like Tutorialized, which is now blocked. Google images was blocked, putting a halt to many photoshop projects. All e-mail systems were blocked, stopping the students from being able to transfer work to and from home (The USB ports were on the back of the computers, where student's couldn't get to) My school used to use a site called "Turn-it-in.com", but that is now blocked, as an unintended side effect of the filter blocking email. Some of the restrictions have been fixed now, thanks to the Computer Art teacher. She set up a script to attempt to access certain pages she wanted unblocked, and if it got the "Access denied" message, it would send an email to the district administrator, demanding to have the site unblocked. It would check once every minuet. She had it change which address it used to send the message, as well, so he couldn't block her emails easily. It worked a lot better than the older method of submitting complaints. http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y8/PrvtCaboose/Ce nsorship-1.jpg [photobucket.com] is a little thing I made to show what it's like.

Block List? (1)

Ramble (940291) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050194)

It's an interesting question, obviously filters are there for a reason but they just blanket block so many useful websites (www.google.com for example...).

Why not try blocking certain websites that trouble you (porn, myspace, etc.) and leave the rest open for us honest users?

Re:Block List? (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051776)

I seem to remember that once you start filtering content that it opens you up to greater liability DMCA-wise.

Censorware exemption (2, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18053164)

I seem to remember that once you start filtering content that it opens you up to greater liability DMCA-wise.
Parts of the statutes enacted in the DMCA have exemptions for technology that "has the sole purpose to prevent the access of minors to material on the Internet" (17 USC 1201(h)(2)).

Re:Censorware exemption (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 7 years ago | (#18053256)

So if you censor adults, you are not a common carrier, but if you censor minors then you are.

Sounds like typical congressman logic.

All right,,, (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18050206)

Who has put public hair on my Coke?

School? (2, Insightful)

ReidMaynard (161608) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050216)

Is this a high school? Jr High? University?
I think if the expected student is a minor (HS or Jr High) I would pass.

Re:School? (0, Troll)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050768)

Think about it: When was the last time a high school student came up with a brilliant idea that was also a Good Idea? There's a reason we don't let them vote, drink, join the army, buy on credit, or get married.

Re:School? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18053018)

"-1, Overrated"?

Apparently we do give teenagers mod points.

Proxy = good (3, Interesting)

Echnin (607099) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050222)

Next semester I will be studying in China and I'm looking forward to experiencing the Great Firewall firsthand... or perhaps not. I expect I'm probably going to need to use a proxy to visit a lot of sites. It really depends on the situation; in my situation I would say that a proxy is entirely ethical.

High School (1)

pci (13339) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050236)

Well if you want a legal opinion, talk to a lawyer (IMHO, its a would open you up to civil suits from over protective parents)

If you are worried about local opinion of your business of helping kids break their school rules, then its a dumb idea

If you just want to have an "in" so you can pick up high school students, then go for it

Re:High School (1)

QuickFox (311231) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050340)

Well if you want a legal opinion, talk to a lawyer
Are you out of your mind? He's a Slashdotter, why on Earth would he ask someone who knows?

Re:High School (3, Insightful)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051590)

He's a Slashdotter, why on Earth would he ask someone who knows?

But he asked what was the *moral* thing to do.

In which case I would have thought a lawyer would be the last person I would ask... ;-)

Re:High School (2, Interesting)

enharmonix (988983) | more than 7 years ago | (#18053480)

He's a Slashdotter, why on Earth would he ask someone who knows?

But he asked what was the *moral* thing to do.

In which case I would have thought a lawyer would be the last person I would ask... ;-)
You know it's a sad state of affairs when lawyer jokes are moderated Insightful rather than Funny... Cheers.

I wouldn't do it (5, Insightful)

nahdude812 (88157) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050248)

I wouldn't do it for two reasons. First, if the school moderately has their act together, they'll be watching their outbound traffic, see a big spike to the proxy site, and you'll end up on the block list inside of a week anyway (which might be less time than it takes you to get everything set up).

Second, I believe that when school kids are on school property using school equipment, the school should get to decide what they're allowed to do. My employer sure has this right, and it's also certainly a firing offense for me to bypass it. I salute schools that don't let kids play on the Internet when they're at school and should instead be learning. Sorry, school time is time that students should be using for, I dunno, learning. MySpace and MSN don't qualify, if this is really what they're looking to get to. So I wouldn't do it on principle (though of course realizing the kids will probably manage to find it somewhere else anyway).

Many people complain about schools, but things which I see as reasonable attempts to keep the kids on target are hollared at as censorship or some other poorly-fitting term which is basically the equivalent of saying, "We think kids should be allowed to do whatever they want, but we also think you should make them learn material they don't want to at the same time."

Re:I wouldn't do it (4, Interesting)

MostAwesomeDude (980382) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050452)

I worked in a high school's computer tech center for a few years. I'm not a lawyer, though.

In terms of legality, you're in the clear for that express purpose only (visiting MySpace.) Anything else might make you liable. I would suggest a click-through.

Also, if the school is anything like the one I worked at, the extent of their blocking will be harvesting visited URLs and looking to see if there are any frequent hits at interesting domain names. However, we never caught small *.mine.nu-type DynDNS addresses unless a teacher explicitly told us, and our job was only to enforce teachers' policies, not make up new ones.

Re:I wouldn't do it (1)

JensenDied (1009293) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051894)

Interestingly enough a couple years ago back when I was in hs I actually was using a *.mine.nu address (which I have since let that domain expire) to my home computer which was using a sort of crudely written reverse proxy I had made, Crudely since I wasn't motivated enough to make it work with POST data, meh.

It was only used between about 3 people. I don't think it ever got reported though.

Re:I wouldn't do it (1)

l_bratch (865693) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050474)

Sorry, school time is time that students should be using for, I dunno, learning. MySpace and MSN don't qualify, if this is really what they're looking to get to.
I can see where you're coming from there, but what if the students are not in lesson, during break times or at lunch? They are allowed to chat to each other about whatever they want there in person, so why not do it online as well? You generally aren't there to learn 100% of the time.

For the record - I am NOT a fan of MySpace ;)

Re:I wouldn't do it (2, Interesting)

Oculus Habent (562837) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050670)

so why not do it online as well?


If you open the hole, people will exploit it. Not everyone is on break at the same time, so you can't poke holes in your firewall at appropriate times, and leaving the ability to access the service begs for someone to use it.

I understand that removing blocking is almost impossible in our current educational and social environment. What I would like to see is user-based security... you log on and your actions online are logged, monitored, tracked, and reported. With that, I would like some additional freedoms to be given -- the ability to access Messenger or other "non-educational" sites and services during your break hours with the understanding that they can monitor your usage, and if you break the rules... they'll know.

With decent monitoring software, the school should be able to identify suspect traffic or inappropriate usage patterns pretty quickly. Are there any firewall/monitoring packages that could build rules around user accounts - LDAP integration or something - and then monitor traffic per user and automatically block certain activities based on a set of rules? Here's my thought.

The student hops on the network and it associated with a user account -- already available.
The student performs a Google search, which is verified against a block list and logged against their account.
The student hops on Messenger, and the firewall checks to see if they're authorized to use the service at all, and then if they are authorized at that time. Permit or deny, it is logged.
The student sets up a proxy server for their Messenger, and tries to connect, and the firewall denies it as Messenger traffic after inspecting the packets.
The student sets up a secure proxy server for their browser, and starts wandering around. They server checks to see if it's an open proxy, and it's not. It allows it.
The student uses the proxy a lot and the firewall's monitoring suite says, "Hey, there's an unusual amount of activity to this unknown site" and flags it for a report.
An administrator inquires after the student, they find the proxy, and he gets his Internet privs locked down to only with specific teacher authorization.

What do you think?

Re:I wouldn't do it (1)

hahafaha (844574) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050928)

That what was all this school was for... to teach us how to solve our own problems. -- janeowit

Your sig seems to disagree with the content of your message... :-)

But seriously, though, I don't see what the huge deal is. At my high school, we have many websites blocked. So, when I really need to go to a blocked site (I do not use MSN, MySpace or any such nonesense, but, for example, they had a site with old AMC, AIME, USAMO and IMO problems blocked, I just logged in to my computer at home via SSH and accessed whatever I want.

Re:I wouldn't do it (2, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050704)

what if the students are not in lesson, during break times or at lunch? They are allowed to chat to each other about whatever they want there in person, so why not do it online as well?
Schools don't block frivolous uses of their equipment because they don't want kids to have fun; they do it because they want to make sure these tools are available for the purpose they were intended for: as educational resources. If the computer lab is full of kids surfing MyFace and chatting on AIMSN during lunch and breaks, then that lab isn't available to students who want to do some online research, type a paper, etc.

Re:I wouldn't do it (1)

f_raze13 (982309) | more than 7 years ago | (#18053286)

My school had specific computers set aside for this sort of thing. They had about six computers set aside from the rest that were labeled EMAIL computers and students could access AIM or check their email from them. Of course, I could check my email from any computer, but you couldn't get in trouble for using these. An interesting concept for sure. I wonder if they're still there.

Re:I wouldn't do it (3, Insightful)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050774)

``I salute schools that don't let kids play on the Internet when they're at school and should instead be learning.''

You're supposing that the things that these schools are trying to block access to are not learning. By contrast, most people I know who are good with computers got there by doing things that authorities (parents, schools, ...) did not want them to do.

I'm not saying limiting what children can do is a Bad Thing, but you have to consider that, by restricting them, you limit what can go wrong _and_ what can go right. Limiting bright kids in their development is an effective way of turning them into trouble kids.

Re:I wouldn't do it (2, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051752)

I'm not saying limiting what children can do is a Bad Thing, but you have to consider that, by restricting them, you limit what can go wrong _and_ what can go right. Limiting bright kids in their development is an effective way of turning them into trouble kids.

These are decisions for schools to make.

These are decisions for parents to make. They are not decisions for you to make. This is where the Geek goes wrong.

Re:I wouldn't do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18053736)

Perhaps, but would you not say that government-run schools are beholden to the the public? We are obliged to see that our government(s) do as little damage as possible in the course of their operation. Especially to children.

Re:I wouldn't do it (1)

JensenDied (1009293) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051954)

You're supposing that the things that these schools are trying to block access to are not learning. By contrast, most people I know who are good with computers got there by doing things that authorities (parents, schools, ...) did not want them to do.

And in practice most schools limit, but are still easy enough to bypass. some will find solutions that already exist (web proxys) and some will create their own solution.
The computers at my school were barely locked down, We could run *Nix from live CD's(Hell I was first introduced to a copy of linux when somone brought in a knoppix and RH cd's) or wipe the current OS if we wanted.

Re:I wouldn't do it (2, Insightful)

nahdude812 (88157) | more than 7 years ago | (#18053136)

You're supposing that the things that these schools are trying to block access to are not learning.
I trust the school to make this decision more than I trust the kids. At work, if a site is blocked by our proxy which is legitimate, we can request that it be unblocked, and typically this is done within the same day, often within an hour of the request (unless its borderline, then it is escalated). I'm presuming that if a student contacted the administration with a compelling reason to unblock a site, that it would be (certainly if this is not the case, it should be), but I still trust the school to consistently make better decisions on this front.

Re:I wouldn't do it (1)

Ankur Dave (929048) | more than 7 years ago | (#18053788)

I'm presuming that if a student contacted the administration with a compelling reason to unblock a site, that it would be

Unfortunately, you presume incorrectly. My high school, for example, uses a WebSense proxy. When a site is blocked, the student is redirected to a page saying so, with a form to fill out if the site should be unblocked.

The school proxy blocks both mozilla.com and sourceforge.net. I filled out the unblock form for both of these sites, but 6 months later, they are still blocked.

While I accept that schools should block sites like MySpace, if they impose a blanket ban and don't make any effort to correct the filters, what choice do students have but to use a proxy?

FYI, I run a Squid proxy and an SSH server on port 443 on my home computer. To bypass the proxy for sites that genuinely shouldn't have been blocked, I tunnel traffic over SSH to the Squid proxy.

Re:I wouldn't do it (1)

fruitbane (454488) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050882)

Unless it's a private school the school property is also public property. While I'm not sure I'd be willing to make this argument personally, it could be argued that if the filters, in any way, are not in the best interest of the children or the public then bypassing them is, if not an act of public good, an inconsequential act otherwise. However, the public property aspect may have an impact on the rules of the game. If it's a private school, the private property aspect could have an even bigger impact.

Re:I wouldn't do it (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051890)

it could be argued that if the filters, in any way, are not in the best interest of the children or the public then bypassing them is, if not an act of public good, an inconsequential act otherwise

judges have this odd notion that the interests of the child are best served by listening to those who are responsible for his care and instruction.

not to the buttinski who thinks he knows better.

Re:I wouldn't do it (1)

fruitbane (454488) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052118)

judges have this odd notion that the interests of the child are best served by listening to those who are responsible for his care and instruction.
Given some of what at least a few school boards have been guilty of lately, and what some spectacularly "gifted" parents managed to pull on a regular basis, I can't say that I would necessarily agree with all judges on this matter. That said, I did specify that I didn't necessarily personally agree with the alternative take on things that I offered.

Parental override? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18053234)

judges have this odd notion that the interests of the child are best served by listening to those who are responsible for his care and instruction.
Then do these filters have an option for a student to obtain parental permission to have a site unblocked from the student's account? And shouldn't all sites be unblocked once a senior turns 18?

Re:I wouldn't do it (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18050930)

"I salute schools that don't let kids play on the Internet when they're at school and should instead be learning. Sorry, school time is time that students should be using for, I dunno, learning."

One problem is what exactly counts as reasonable. In my case, as a 6th form student (18, last year of school education), I find most of the restrictions to be rather frustrating, due to the way in which things are blocked. Games, social networking sites and such are open and free and unblocked, yet anything with the word 'network' 'administrator' 'security' 'settings' 'connect' and numerous other strange keywords are blocked at the proxy level. This makes it very difficult, considering I am studying computing and am hoping to go on to do Computer Science when I leave school. We can't even access the exam boards specification for the syllabus.

After the IT support people promising to fix it around 2 years ago, and frequent 'we are working on it' messages since, using a proxy is about the only way around, and all I want to do is get a chance to learn and research!

To take the angle that trying to avoid such a proxy is just to play games isn't always true.

Re:I wouldn't do it (1)

hahafaha (844574) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050968)

I can relate.

For a very long time (though I think that it is now fixed), our school blocked a site that had old AMC, AIME, USAMO and IMO problems for no apparent the reason. The only possible explanation that I could give was that it had the word ``demon' in the URL. It was truly ridiculous.

I disagree... (1)

badenglishihave (944178) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051144)

As a student who is paying his own way through school, I do not see why my college should decide for me what I do and do not have access to (in terms of gaming in particular). Obviously the legal implications of file sharing networks justify blocking p2p traffic, but my school (and many others) see fit to block all internet gaming.

I assume you are an adult who has graduated from school at some level. Let me tell you that I as a student share your sentiment as I look around and see many of my friends addicted to games like World of Warcraft which they play through proxy servers. They neglect work and fail classes. And you can call them kids all you like but they are legally adults and they are paying the school for their education opportunities, not the other way around! I do think that if the parents are paying for the education, they should monitor their child's grades and if he fails out tough luck, he's on his own.

At 20 years old I agree, I'm still a kid =) . But you know what? I see nothing wrong with relaxing as a single young adult by playing games every now and then. How is this even taxing on a school's servers? Many games still have netcode optimized for 56K! Why should my school tell me what I can and cannot do in my free time? I am paying my school for its reputation as an academic institution, not as a parental unit.

Re:I disagree... (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052644)

I don't know who made that decision for your school, or why, but it might not be as nefarious as you think.

While games tended to be optimized for 56k modems, they usually aren't optimized for all types of routing equipment. That is, MMOs in general and WoW specifically tend to spew out a huge number of packets per second (pps). Lots of network gear is optimized for throughput rather than pps, so lots of really small packets might actually cause it to choke.

It's also possible that you've got a smaller pipe, and even if game playing doesn't completely saturate the link, if it prevents educational use of the connection, it's pretty reasonable to limit or block it. After all, with most colleges, you're welcome to move off-campus and get your own connection.

Re:I disagree... (1)

nahdude812 (88157) | more than 7 years ago | (#18053228)

Sorry, I meant to discuss high school / junior high students, not college kids. In college, you should get the freedom to make mistakes with how you use your time, including spending all of it gaming or surfing MySpace. This is the time of life where people are established to learn personal responsibility.

My guess is that the filters they have in place at college are meant to conserve bandwidth. Right after I started university, they established dorm room connectivity, and brought a whopping (for the time) three T1's in. The first year it was awesome. The second year, it was usable. The third year students were turning to dialup because it was substantially faster.

I don't think it's within a university's capacity to really bring in enough bandwidth to satisfy total student desire for it. No matter how much bandwidth you give them, they'll use it up and want more. I think it's reasonable for schools to limit usage in order to keep the network as a whole usable. Some schools do this by giving each student a bandwidth allowance. Some schools do this by restricting certain high-bandwidth non-educational activities. Maybe your school's system isn't perfect, but I doubt they seriously think they'll get their jollies by keeping you from gaming. Most schools are all about freedoms, and unless your school is different, they probably had a significant discussion on alternatives to blocking before they implemented it.

Boarding schools? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18053192)

Sorry, school time is time that students should be using for, I dunno, learning.
What happens if, at a given moment, a student has completed all pending obligations for all classes in which the student is enrolled, and the student doesn't get to go home for another four weeks? If you were a student in such a situation, what would you do?

Re:Boarding schools? (1)

nahdude812 (88157) | more than 7 years ago | (#18053868)

What I did do in the past is things like read a book, or get a pass to go to the art studios, or get a pass to go to the TV studio, or get a pass to go to the IT rooms, and in some way better myself. There's other things than the Internet, and I think you can be productive even without access to MySpace.

Re:I wouldn't do it (2, Insightful)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 7 years ago | (#18053384)

I am legally required to be in school.

If I am legally required to be in school and what I am learning is censored.

Then how can I hope to learn the truth?

Create a policy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18050254)

Create an accectable use policy which forbids illegal and unethical activity. Then create a process which ensures a response to reports of abuse. In most jurisdictions, you've covered your butt.

Dear Slashdot (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18050294)

Dear Slashdot,

Last night when I was standing in front of my local 7-11 waiting for my bus, two teenagers came up to me and asked me to buy them some beer. I like having a beer as much as the next guy, but is it ethical for me to buy it for them?

Re:Dear Slashdot (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18051098)

You rode the bus to a 7-11?

Re:Dear Slashdot (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051832)

Yeah, that pretty much is the same issue. Sure it's ethical, but powerful people oppose you and don't be surprised if your life suddenly turns very unpleasant after you meet an undercover cop. You knew the risks.

Re:Dear Slashdot (1)

danimrich (584138) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052602)

Bad comparison. Providing alcohol to people under the legal drinking age is expressly forbidden in many countries.

Re:Dear Slashdot (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18053260)

Providing alcohol to people under the legal drinking age is expressly forbidden in many countries.
But why should the legal drinking age be set at the maximum human life span, as it is in several countries?

Re:Dear Slashdot (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052894)

Wtf difference does it make if they are 1 day shy of 18?

Morally/Ethically there is no difference.
Legally, there is.

It is up to every person to decide when and where those two intersect, and when they don't.

Sounds bad (3, Interesting)

solevita (967690) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050356)

You didn't say what size school it was, but a thousand students? That could be an entire school. So, some kid has told you that his entire school wants to get round the filtering and wants you to help. How are they going to advertise this service without alerting parents or teachers? How can you be sure that one talkative student isn't going to tell her parent's that she can get on MySpace because "some computer guy is helping them out"? How long do you think it'll take those parents to report you as an online MySpace sex pest?

Leave school stuff to school kids. If you really want to help them out, tell your friend about free proxies that he can find via google, or even better, TORpac. Even better still, tell the spoilt brats to wait until they get home. If you want to earn some more money, either work harder at your present job, or look for a new one.

I don't want to sound blunt, but there's better ways of making a living than facilitating kid's "social networking".

Re:Sounds bad (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051090)

I don't want to sound blunt, but there's better ways of making a living than facilitating kid's "social networking".

Well, not everyone can be a firefighter. And it's not ignoble, like being a car salesman or lawyer.

Re:Sounds bad (3, Funny)

solevita (967690) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051294)

Well, not everyone can be a firefighter. And it's not ignoble, like being a car salesman or lawyer.

True, but not every job requires you to log on to Slashdot to see if it's morally correct or not.

It's up to you... (3, Insightful)

Helix150 (177049) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050370)

Legally, create an AUP which people must click through that basically says you wont use the site to do anything bad, surf porn, etc. IANAL tho.

Morally though, that only you can answer. You bothered to ask, so that may be your answer right there. Personally I think school filters are annoying and pointless, because everybody assumes that the second you turn 18 you somehow become magically mature enough to handle porn/violence/cigarettes/lotteries, things which you apparently couldn't handle at 17.995. Schools just want to cover their butts and I can't say I blame them. However our society as a whole is increasingly becoming a nanny-state where people must be 'protected' from 'bad things' rather than educated about them and informed on how to protect themselves or make good choices.

Realistically though, whoever runs IT on the school probably isn't stupid. If they see a bazillion hits to the same site they'll probably check it out, and figure out what it is. At that point it gets blocked. And if you don't use HTTPS, they can just traffic sniff it.

What I would do is make the site go HTTPS immediately, and the resulting page looks like a search engine, and function like one with a google API or something. Have your friend encourage everybody to use it as a search engine as much as possible, so the resulting traffic spike doesn't look suspicious. However script it so if you search for a particular string of terms (IE the password of the week) it dumps the facade and takes you to the proxy page. Also have a cookie so if you manually punch in the address to the proxy page w/out first searching for the password, it takes you back to the search page. This should make it last quite a bit longer.

Re:It's up to you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18051510)

Realistically though, whoever runs IT on the school probably isn't stupid. If they see a bazillion hits to the same site they'll probably check it out, and figure out what it is. At that point it gets blocked. And if you don't use HTTPS, they can just traffic sniff it.
In my experience, I know more about the computer system than the people who run IT at the school I'm at.

The web filter does it's job by filtering games, though on many occasions i've had things filtered with a message telling me that it's blocked because it's educational. Wikipedia gets blocked. They block anything political, a lot of news sites.

Proxies help me get my work done, half the time. I set one up on my server and password protected the dir to stop huge amounts of traffic.

Censorship? C'mon, now (4, Insightful)

svunt (916464) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050380)

There's a big difference between you doing this for some Chinese students who have 90% of the web blocked, but blocking myspace/messenger at schools is NOT about censorship, it's about saving PCs and bandwidth for people using those facilities for their fucking educations. There's no 'sticking it to the man' getting around a myspace block, you're not freeing the masses from tyranny, you're helping to fuck things up for people using school resources for school.

My advice, don't be a dick, if people need their goddamned myspace they can buy a computer and an internet connection. I get sick and tired of waiting in a queue at uni to use the library catalogue because every 18 year old tool is busy "LOL ASL"ing away on the machines my fees pay for.

Ah, that rant felt gooooood.

Re:Censorship? C'mon, now (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050534)

Excellent point about bandwidth and a political statement. Also, schools want to eliminate the ability to view what they deem, objectionable material. If you did not have some kind of proxy in schools, our children would be even further behind than the world at large. They would be surfing instead of learning . . . . er, maybe they do that already. I can't help but notice that the Europeans place less emphasis on censorship, period! I'll hedge a guess that the school-based proxy might be the exception, rather than the rule but I do not know for sure.

Re:Censorship? C'mon, now (1)

chaoticgeek (874438) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050584)

I agree, when ever I want to go print off a paper for a class I have to either wait or leave my building and go to another computer lab and it is just too cold out to do that. I hate it when I go into the small lab they have set up and have all but one person using facebook/myspace. I want to print something off and everyone gets pissed off if you ask if you can log in quickly to print it off. It is not like they are doing anything important. I think that the university computers should be monitored so that when people are on myspace or facebook for more than 10 min they get kicked off the computer. I would love that...

Re:Censorship? C'mon, now (1)

edschurr (999028) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050624)

That's about what I was going to say.

Also, Mav, does the electorate want you screwing with their schools? So yeah, this isn't Red China, get some perspective. Would you want people screwing around in your district without voting? Besides, MSN is just going to be used to waste more time in class. School computers get used under more circumstances than lunch-time. When I was in Tech 11 and 12 the majority of the class would waste time thanks to the unengaging teaching and poor Internet control. It would be a miracle a year later if those students even knew the name of the programming language they used.

(However, I wrote and installed software on the lab computers, giving myself power over who could and couldn't play games, getting me in with the 12th graders to play Starcraft and Jedi Knight. Then years later I disabled Deep Freeze on most of the computers and everyone could install any software they wanted. So, uh, I was actually pretty much the problem, ahem. But I'm more concerned about education now...)

Re:Censorship? C'mon, now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18054256)

... for their fucking education

For that they need unrestricted net access. I sure went to the wrong schools...

IANAL (2, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050398)

So I won't comment on the legal aspects. Ask a lawyer.

The moral aspects are easier, because you don't need a degree to argue ethics. Just an over inflated sense of self importance. Check.

Is it moral to do X? Well, that depends, on you, the society you live in and how willing that society is to beat in your head for violating the morality of that society.

Is it moral to have sex with your childeren and then kill them for your own pleasure? I think the general opinion is not.

Is it moral to kill thousands of childeren each and every year because you like to drive to fast/drunk for your own pleasure? Look at the number of childeren killed year in year out because of dangerous driving and I think that the general opinion is yes. Except offcourse nobody will admit it.

Morality is a complex thing and it seems to have a lot to do with whatever the "people" can be bothered to get upset about. Or rather a small group of people can be bothered to shout very loudly about without anyone else shouting back.

It ain't even consistent. On a small scale people might agree on say restricting road speeds near schools, but if you suggest that the speed across the entire town is brought down to a safe limit, or even worse, put up camera's to enforce the speed limit, then you find yourselve with massive opposition. Or at least very loud and that surely means massive.

At the moment you got a "thinkofthechilderen" movement who is very massive, or at least very loud. They say, that it ain't right to let childeren access places like myspace unrestricted. Are they right? Do they even represent a majority of the people? Do you consider what the majority considers to be right, to be right? Note that the "thinkofthechilderen" group can't seem to be bothered by the deaths in traffic wich outnumber the victims of sexual predators.

I myself got the following problem with this idea.

Not to long ago there was a police request for witnesses in a the free dutch newspaper metro or spits about a rape case. A woman returning from a date late at night had been assaulted and raped walking back alone. A comment by a collegue was that her boyfriend should have walked her back.

In a way he was right except that he shouldn't be. Should women be restricted from were and when they can walk because some men are rapists?

Should childeren be banned from socializing online because some people prey on them online?

The next step in that logic is that they asked for it. This is the old sexist way of thinking wich I definitly think is amoral.

So I don't think childeren should be prevented from accessing spaces like myspace. Restrict the criminals, not the victims.

Is it then moral for you to break restrictions against childeren that can be considered by some to be morally wrong.

Well, obviously not. The only thing that could be wrong if you consider breaking that restriction itself to be a morally wrong act.

Like say, you consider it morally wrong to let someone starve to death but your only option would be to steal the food wich you also consider to be morally wrong. A choice of the lesser of two evils.

But I find it hard to consider a proxy to myspace to be morally wrong on its own. Myspace may be wrong, but not on any moral grounds.

Say you provide the access to these childeren. This results in them posting their details on myspace. Someone else uses these details to hunt one down and rape and kill them. Are you then morally to blaim?

That depends on the morals of the person judging you.

Is the boyfriend in the above real example to blaim for not escorting his girlfriend home? Is society as a whole? Is the girl? Or is it just the rapist and nobody else that should be held accountable for what happened?

If you provide access you provide access for, what I would consider, a in itself harmless actions. There are plenty of safe ways to behave on myspace. You do not make these kids behave in an unsafe manner. Part of living is to do things that might get you killed. Do we allow people to skydive? Ski? Install windows?

Neither did you track down the child or directly harm it.

The only question is, do you consider that you provided one link in the chain that someone else abused to be morally wrong?

Are gunmakers to blaim for a murder? Is the guy who made the gun powder? Who forged the metal? Who mined the metal? Who fed the laborers?

Is the ISP wrong who allowed the child to get online. The parents who did not supervise the child.

I consider ONLY the attacker to be in the wrong. ALL the rest is just something that I like to call, living your live. You should be free to do so without someone else attacking you. Yes, common sense suggests you try not to attract attackers BUT being attacked is NOT YOUR FAULT.

I get very upset with people who try to put the blame anywhere else but the attacker. It seems just to dangerously close to people saying "she/he/it must have asked for it". In a world were people are still put to death for being raped that is an evil thing to think. Not funny evil, not MS evil, but the deep dark evil that makes concentration camps happen.

Are you morally wrong in providing access through a proxy to schoolchilderen to myspace?

Not in my book.

But who cares, it is YOU that might have to live with yourselve if anything happens. How can I possibly answer what you think?

The moral thing (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050402)

It's up to you to argue for it. At the risk of starting a mindless flame war, it's possible to argue for or against abortion, capital punishment etc and both sides usually believe that they are the only side to be acting morally.

Morality is relative. (2, Insightful)

subreality (157447) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050428)

What sounds better to you?

* Children should be raised in a sheltered environment, so that they don't encounter controversial opinions they might not understand without the proper context.

* Children should have free access to information, and shouldn't get a rose-tinted view of the world. The only way they'll get the context to complex issues is by being exposed to discussion about them.


Or another pair:

* The law should be respected regardless of if you agree with it, because it's the foundation of civilization.

* What's right and what's legal aren't always the same, and I prefer to do what's right.


I think that someone who believes in any of the opinions above, and lives by them, can be a moral person. You need to think about what YOU believe in. We can't answer that for you.

what an issue! (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050510)

In this day and age, I'd say it's best for you to cut your losses and run, legality notwithstanding. The laws are so muddied that it wouldn't surprise me in the least if you could and would be held liable for the students actions. It sounds like this third party is doing something illegal to generate traffic. He is even soliciting criminal activity from a student body. This would give me pause to even trust that individual.

Why even get involved? (1)

The Mutant (167716) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050578)

Where there are loads of free proxies [proxies.tv] already available.

Many will even pass through https traffic. Personally I use MegaProxy [megaproxy.com] so the banks NetCop can't snoop, but even the free sites are feature rich these days.

I'd say just stay away unless your friend can offer up a better explanation.

Proxy, controlled proxy, or open proxy ? (1)

tinkertim (918832) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050598)

Proxy = good, as other people have pointed out information is supposed to be available to everyone all of the time.

Giving something to someone's child allowing them to circumvent parental authority is bad. The school's authority? I'm kind of split down the middle. Legally, you'd be screwed and could be held accountable if you're a US citizen.

A kid would ask for a proxy to use his myspace account meanwhile dreaming of the gigs of porn he's going to download on county bandwidth. We're rather evolved, but giving kids porn is still frowned upon. It comes down to , do you have and can you show you had a reasonable expectation that you work would not be used to break laws? If the child used the proxy to do things that would not be illegal for a minor to do outside of school, you should be ok (but could catch some flack). But you can't count on kids to use things as intended.

If you configured phpproxy, for instance so that if the requested URL was ! myspace.com or somedomain.com, then you've done what is called 'due diligence'.

If you put up an OPEN proxy with no restrictions, then you can have a reasonable expectation that your proxy WILL be used to break laws (mostly CC fraud), which would make you rather irresponsible, and accountable.

The same debate can be applied to Gun makers enabling criminals to do bad things.

Pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18050608)

As soon as the school's network admin finds out that MySpace and MSN are being accessed through your proxy he/she will simply block your proxy as well.

It is not worth your effort, as their access to your proxy will not last long.

Though if the admin has allowed users the privilege to set their browser's proxy, then they can simply use a list of public proxies to change the proxy in use regularly to stay one step ahead of their network admin. If their admin is clever enough they can put a stop to that easily enough as well.

School has nothing to do with MySpace or MSN, and I agree with blocking that trash from entering an institution of learning. (sad as they might be these days)

The kids can use their cellphones for that crap, let their parents pay.

Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor (1)

Doug Dante (22218) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050666)

I'm not a lawyer.

Most states have laws against "Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor". If I were making a buck off a kid who I knew used my service to do something illegal, or even possibly if I knew that it was reasonable to believe that some kid using my service would eventually do, then this law would apply to me.

From the school IT perspective... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18050712)

While I will not answer to the legal or moral aspects of this question, working as a system/network/security admin in a K-8 school district I do have an opinion.

As with many places these days IT departments (if there even is a department) in k-12 educational facilities are understaffed, under-funded and over worked. This is not a complaint this is just stating the facts. There are several districts that I can think of off the top of my head that do not have a full time technician or administrator. The care of IT systems is left to the librarian, math teacher or whomever is the most "technically inclined" teacher or staff person in the building. They will get paid a couple grand to do this as well as their main job of teaching. The main work is left to consultants who might be good. But nevertheless are only onsite when called for. This is not the description of some poor district in "Middle America" either. (No offense to the poor districts in Middle America) For the districts that or fortunate enough to have an IT department the staff is busy with the maintenance of the districts networks, systems, training users, etc. There is little time left to monitor the browsing habits of a 14 year old. We rely on content filters with updated rule sets and teachers who spot a kid doing something bad in class.

I would humbly request that you do not open yet another proxy. That will eventually end up on my content filters list. But students these days are not looking for free access to information. They are looking to bully the kid next to them. They are looking to surf sites that no 14 year old should be on or play games during class because they are too important to learn.

I am all for students pushing the edge and learning. I applaud the first kid who figured out that a proxy would work on content filters. If they figured out why I would even be happier. Heck I would explain it to them if they asked.

Hopefully someone reads this and figures out that it would be nicer to help out the school district in their area versus work against it. It has a hard enough time educating your children or friends. Why make it work harder than it reasonably needs to?

Re:From the school IT perspective... (1)

chaoticgeek (874438) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050964)

We had three guys who worked to cover six different buildings. In the high school they had a tech team class where students helped them out. I took that class and they went through lots of problems and we would get calls when someone screwed up the entire network. A few times the librarian plugged a cable from the router back into itself and took down the network during peak time. Fun stuff. They were severely understaffed because they had three guys who knew a lot and then a handful of us who knew a little but still we could not do any work that was deemed "private." We never got to work on the teachers computers because lots of teachers save their passwords on their computers so it was a issue of if we found out the passwords we might mess with the system. My last year they had such problems and then they switched to Apple.

Some school teachers are just dicks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18050732)

Even worse are the high school IT administrators and librarians who just get off on blocking sites. Block MySpace? Good riddance. Block webmail? You've got to be joking. These people are so far down the food chain they need to get their jollies pissing off kids.

Call a lawyer. (1)

GodInHell (258915) | more than 7 years ago | (#18050884)

If the school is tech savvy, they will block you after a few days, and your server will be a nice hunk of software without anything to do. If they're not, I would worry about the school administration contacting the police - they will look for ways to jam you up.

I don't know of any basic theory of civil law which would allow a claim by the school - but local laws can add to that, and I'm not faimilar with the DMCA or the child protection laws.. but I would look to those as sources of trouble as well.

If the children's parents decide to press the issue, they might be able to bring a claim for interference with their rights as parents to regulate their children's media diet.. which they have a right to do (sorry, ideas should be free folks, I'm just addressing the current state of affairs).

My real fear for you would be a criminal charge.. something like intentional circumvention of a security system, or contributing to the "corruption of a minor". That would have to depend on the statutes in your state.. here is one of the NY statutes that might apply (just as an example of the stretch:

N.Y. Penal Law 260.10(1) provides that a person is guilty of endangering the welfare of a child, a class A misdemeanor, when he "knowingly acts in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a child less than seventeen years old or directs or authorizes such child to engage in an occupation involving a substantial risk of danger to the child's life or health." Persons charged with endangering the welfare of a child under N.Y. Penal Law 260.10(1) need not be a parent, guardian or otherwise in loco parentis.
Bold added for emphasis: source NYPRAC-CRIM 32:10 (West)

Acts creating a risk of harm to the child within the meaning of the endangerment statute include the infliction of excessive corporal punishment, supplying children with alcohol or drugs, having a child join with an adult in criminal activities, involving a child in sexual activity,[FN15] failing to provide a child with required medical treatment or other medical necessities, or other miscellaneous conduct creating a risk of harm to a child.
ibid

So, if these students are engaging in sexual or drug oriented collusion through myspace, and you are knowingly enabling that access, the prosecutor might ask the court to stretch the existing law to cover those facts. It's within the light of reasonableness to my ear (not saying it would happen, but it could happen).

On the other hand, maybe nobody cares.. who can say, get a lawyer.

-GiH

Just study harder and leave the web for college... (3, Insightful)

sjs132 (631745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051094)

I work for a HS... We have filters and such because we are REQUIRED by law... Because somewhere along the line, the overwhelming majority of your parents thought it was a great idea to keep you safe from all the CRAP that is 99% of the internet.

It Pisses me off to no end when little snaughts think they are hot just because they can find a proxy and surf myspace or adult sites.

(Yes, after 7 years in HS and 5 yrs before in college support, I've grown cynical of the crap that is turned out as brains...)

MySpace and other social networking sights (yes, this is gonna be a blanket statement) are worthless and BAD for children. I don't care about the age 18 thing.... If you need "faceless" friends that bad, then purchase your own pipe at home and surf from there... but considering that we are ALL paying for the internet in schools (Universal Cost recovery Fee/tax on phone bills) then it is a waste of my time and the money of the tax payers for you to be using it to watch the latest viral video advertisment from coke or pepsi. (Product placement... watch for it...then ask how many of those vids are "REAL") Or looking for boobies on myspace or google images.

I admit that there are some legit uses for a proxy... like if you live in China or some country where access to books and information is banned by the gov, etc.. BUT, using it to bypass a school filter is NOT a legit reason.

The second reason the filter exists is because you should be LEARNING! Not learning how to hack/bypass things, but shit that matters.... This is one of the reasons (IMHO) why we rank so low on the global education scale... The internet should NOT be in cassrooms, Computers SHOULD NOT be in classrooms. Maybe a computer teacher with overhead and possibly smartboard, but nothing else... Have a few labs for the classes teaching computer software @ HS Level and a bank in the library... As it is now, 4/5 computers per room results = teacher that cant watch and guide the kids to use the internet in any responsible manner.

Get a life... Go HOME to get your vids/kicks and actually LEARN in school... When you get to college, you can waste YOUR parents money on MUDS and MOOS and I don't give a crap. (Ok, that gave away what I did in college...)

Most important, RESPECT the schools computers, we are just trying to do our job, and follow the rules that have been laid down by your parents! (And they supposedly care and love you...)

Re:Just study harder and leave the web for college (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18053302)

I don't care about the age 18 thing.... If you need "faceless" friends that bad, then purchase your own pipe at home and surf from there
What happens when home is 100 miles away? Not all boarding schools are post-secondary.

Re:Just study harder and leave the web for college (1)

sjs132 (631745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18053506)

Then you just have to get a REAL life and and enjoy REAL friends and "Get a grip" on your daily stresses in some other way...

I don't care if home is 1000 miles away... In the United States, as an employee of the school district, I am BOUND by LAW to make efforts to restrict access to certain material... unfortuanly it has to be with a shotgun approach because so many sites allow or make no efforts to police that material. AND if cerain congress acts get passed, even other social networking sites may be banned from schools... (search /. it was just a day or two ago for that article)

Another ALA representative v. Gonzales? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18053956)

In the United States, as an employee of the school district, I am BOUND by LAW
Law in the form of the Constitution, or law in the form of a statute? The Congress of the United States is bound by the Constitution as amended. Public schools are state institutions, which are bound by the 14th Amendment's extension of the 1st Amendment to the states.

AND if cerain congress acts get passed
Then Attorney General Gonzales is going to have to talk to his lawyer because librarians are going to put up a heck of a fight in court.

Advertising Targets (1)

Arckanghel (936829) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051342)

Keep in mind who your advertising targets are and your reputation. If you are connected with the pages, will you be ok with the public knowing the service you have been helping provide.

Not just problems with ethics but also business (1)

Ashtead (654610) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051344)

First there is the questionable ethics of providing filtered sites to high-school students, things like MSN messenger and MySpace, which is much in the same league as cell phones, and are used for similar purposes, which are frequently quite OK, but which also might include bullying, and this might be one of the reasons why the school has put up the limitations to begin with.

Going around this filtering seems to be similar in spirit to aiding and abetting a crime. I don't find this particularly ethical at all, but that's just my opinion. Then chances are that if, or rather when, this site is discovered to be yet another proxy by the school administration, it will become blocked as well, and what does this help anyone then?

That's just before even considering any legal hassle that may ensue. IANAL so I'm not gonna speculate any further on this.

Then there is the financial reasons for doing this that just don't seem to make sense to me. It will be done for free, with advertising revenue, from the same high-school students that presumably will use the service? What are the spending potential of these? It will depend, it might sell cell-phone ringtones and suchlike, but there seems to be some obvious limitations in the amount of money these students have to spend. And when the filtering starts, then the ad-reading and presumably profitable customers go away.

Heh, all that trouble, and for free with uncertain ad revenue -- how good business is this?

Easy ethics, potential risks (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 7 years ago | (#18051758)

The ethics here are actually pretty easy. This desire to block a particular website, is someone else's rule, not yours. Nobody ever asked you if it was a good idea; you had even less representation in this decision, than your distant Senator in Washington who doesn't give a damn about you.

There's nothing wrong with not playing along with someone else's game. Dude, lose the guilt.

The risk, however, is substantial, unless your proxy is really dedicated to providing access to that one website. I'd caution you against this, for the same reason I caution people against running open wireless access points. You don't want the secret service visiting you to ask why you sent a presidential death threat, you don't want the RIAA sending you DMCA notices, you don't want your address banned from various services for reasons that aren't your fault, etc. If you proceed with this, you might want to at least keep substantial logs so that whenever anyone really powerful comes after you, looking for vengeance, you're able to pass the buck.

So simple even a cavemen figured it out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18051840)

School resources, school rules. Since they block, the moral high ground is to not help others at the school circumvent their restrictions. All other legal, political, opinion, etc can be taken up with the appropriate administrations.

This shouldn't have even made slashdot.

If it were me.. (1)

Arceliar (895609) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052320)

I wouldn't do it. The primary reason being they're trying to access MySpace. It would be one thing if something potentially useful were blocked, such as how Wikipedia was filtered out when I was in highschool, though even Wikipedia is pushing it as far as justification goes in my mind.

Also, depending on where the students are when trying to access MySpace. Please note that things like this [slashdot.org] could soon be a more common legal reason not to do it. Nobody likes being an accessory.

But mostly, it's my loathing of MySpace that would stop me from doing it..

Done This (1)

TheLoneWolf071 (1063682) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052486)

I've Done This. My School Had a filter system, so I setup a simple Cgi-proxy on a spare box I had at home. When The School blocked my site, I just changed it. They never commented on it to me, even though everyone knew it was my site. I think that the moral implications do not lie with you, but rather with the users. You can setup a simple htaccess file so that only you know who is using the site. This way if Pornographic material is accessed, you can tell who is it and cut off their access.

There are plenty of proxies already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18052518)

Say no and offer this tidbit to your prospective partner:

Proxy.org has a long list of proxy sites.

Search the web for "proxy" for even more.

Use search engine caches to see some static sites. Interactive ones like MySpace aren't as useful cached.

Kids can run gotomypc or other tools on their home PCs.

As a Business it sounds like a terrible idea (1)

Nevyn (5505) | more than 7 years ago | (#18052928)

I was recently asked to host a website for free in return for a lot of advertising

This sounds like this is purely a business thing, at which point I'd seriously question whether the ad revenue will cover the costs. Even if you don't get screwed by the school or parents (need to hire a lawyer, etc.) you are going to be providing x2 the bandwidth of anything they download, and I'd roughly estimate a click through rate of 0% on any adds, if they don't just block them completely, because if they could afford to buy anything they'd be paying for hosting.

Take a good look at the articles icon! (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 7 years ago | (#18053490)

Take a good look at the articles icon. See the man with the tape over his mouth? Is it moral to run an anonymous proxy? It is a moral imperative!

This is so simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18053750)

Let the kids know that you're giving them a very good deal on an unlimited bandwidth service, and make them pay for a year in advance. Then call the school and let them know what the proxy server is for. The school adds you to the block list and you get free money.

On your way home you can take candy from babies.
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