Ask anyone who has used an internet connection at a school, college or university and you’ll find that there are restrictions in place. For some it’s a basic porn and torrent blocking but some go a step further.
Now Northern Illinois University has gone a step leap further. The university has blocked/ restricted access to a large range of useful websites ranging from social networks to Wikipedia. Under social networks not only did they block Facebook, Foursquare etc. but also LinkedIn. Apparently it is fairly easy to bypass the restrictions and filtering but the university ‘Acceptable Usage Policy’ says that these could be tracked and disciplinary actions taken. Surprisingly this ban not only effects it students but also it’s staff and residents.
Firstly, we are not really sure why a university would go to such actions especially when websites such as Wikipedia and LinkedIn are very useful to students these days but students sometimes also need to access questionable content in the name of research. Secondly, we’re not really sure how they are going to track all of these filters and blocks as it is impossible to do so by a simple technical faculty, and as we have seen a number of times (especially in the UK) software filters can be very problematic.
Hopefully NIU will soon realise the mistake they have made and until then, students everywhere can use a VPN to bypass such restrictions and it allows them to carry out there studies without limitations.