University Bans Social Media, Political Content and Wikipedia Pages on Dorm Wifi

Aug 21, 2014 by

First our porn and now our Pinterest?!

“Finally, I can do whatever I want!” thought every incoming college freshman ever. But for some unlucky students arriving on campus this fall, that sought-after right of passage applies to just about everything except internet usage.

Northern Illinois University enacted an Acceptable Use Policy that goes further than banning  torrents, also denying students access to social media sites and other content the university considers “unethical” or “obscene.”

A discussion on the ban was brought to Reddit by user darkf who discovered the new policy while trying to access the Wikipedia page for the Westboro Baptist Church from his personal computer in his dorm room. The student received a filter message categorizing the page as “illegal or unethical.” It seems possible to continue to the webpage, but the message warns that all violations will be reviewed.

(Screengrab via darkf).

“This kind of policy comes out of the blue,” darkf told Betabeat. “I feel that if someone doesn’t speak out about it at the start, it might be here to stay. I hope they can understand how restrictive it is to students.”

Effective for residents, students and staff, the restrictions span across the NIU network, which includes both campus research and education center as well as the school’s Wifi network. The revised policy — enacted July 25 — isn’t entirely new, but the implementation of a new filter that will strictly enforce it was the first “act of office” for the university’s new head of technology, according to darkf. The full terms of the policy are explained here, but we’ll sum up the less obvious ones:

via University Bans Social Media, Political Content and Wikipedia Pages on Dorm Wifi | Betabeat.

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