The NSW Department of Education and Training (DET) have been in the spotlight for announcing imminent plans to introduce an “unbreakable” internet filtering solution on future laptops allocated to students.
Whether the DET are oblivious to tried-and-tested means to workaround similar internet filtering schemes their future vision relies on the Commonwealth approving an additional $245 million in funding on top of the $197 million currently proposed, which it has claimed is necessary to deliver a laptop to every student in years 9 – 12.
A major concern online civil rights advocates are highlighting is the plan to provide an “approved-only” online experience to students taking their laptop away from high-school grounds, this may be some students only access to the Internet and seeing it through a straw is not an honest portrayal of what students can learn and experience online.
A known vulnerability that exploits the ‘trust’ process of approving new sites within a restricted environment is listed below.
- Register new domain (anywhere from $1.95 USD to $34.95 AUD for a 2-year domain registration)
- Publish legitimate school-related content (relevant notes related to an upcoming school topic project or presentation)
- Request the site be added to the “Approved” list
- On approval install a popular server-based proxy solution on the approved site
- Distribute proxy page address to close friends
- Enjoy unrestricted access to the internet (guaranteed 99% of time will be used for social networking…)
- As each newly approved proxy site is eventually blocked new student-generated proxy sites and approval requests can be initiated by other students