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If the Internet filters are so good, why aren’t the feds sharing them with the states?

February 17th, 2009 at 02:19pm

Every now and then I take a look at the websites of various schools that I attended and have a look at their newsletters, and I did this over the weekend. Whilst poking around the Campbell High School website I stumbled on an interesting document: The “Acceptable Use Of Technology Resources Policy At Campbell High School” form which students and parents have to sign in order for students to be able to use computers at the high school.

The policy runs to five pages, and I’ve got to say that I was enthralled by it…not because it’s a particularly interesting document, but because I feel a great deal of responsibility for the introduction of the document after nearly being expelled from Campbell in 2003 for my antics with their computer network. I read through the whole thing, and was particularly interested by the following statements:

Staff will be encouraged to make effective use of the Internet to maximise student learning. Whilst teachers will make every effort to ensure that students do not access material which may be deemed inappropriate or offensive, it is not possible to screen out all such content. However, the ACT Department of Education does employ some filters on its Internet access.
[..]
If a student accidentally accesses any material which is illegal, obscene, dangerous or offensive, he or she should immediately minimise the screen and quietly inform a staff member.

Right now, the Federal government is trialling an Internet filtering system which will supposedly block out illegal content. There are a number of technical problems with this but I won’t bore you with them right now…instead I will pose the question that struck me as I read through Campbell’s IT policy:

If the Federal Government’s Internet filters are so good, why haven’t they shared them with state and territory governments? If they had shared them with the states and territories, Campbell wouldn’t need sentences in their policies about accessing illegal or inappropriate content on the Internet.

Samuel

Entry Filed under: IT News,Samuel's Editorials

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