Blocked Atheist Bus Ad Website

I was sitting in my classroom yesterday while my students were taking a quiz. I wanted to look up something on the Indiana Atheist Bus Campaign website (I’m still pumped they’re running ads on Chicago buses).

This is what I saw when I went to their website:

bus

My school has the site blocked because of a “Malicious Web Reputation.”

Man… The Internets are always talking smack about atheists…

  • beckster

    This used to happen to me all the time when I was teaching. The filter would block the stupidest stuff. We were once researching the cotton gin, but couldn’t research the word “gin” because the filter deemed it inappropriate. You could research “reconstructive surgery” and find pictures of boobies. A thirteen year old boy taught me that :)

  • http://blaghag.blogspot.com/ Jennifurret

    Ha. Oh high school website blockers. There was some website where you could type in the address you wanted and it would bypass the filters – but I can’t remember it since that was 3 years ago. Anyone know what I’m talking about?

  • Matt

    We saw a Clark bus with the ad on it last night. Yay!

  • Richard Wade

    Hemant, am I correct in assuming you did not complain about this to your school principal? ;)

  • Jeannette

    you should totally submit a site review request to your IT people.

    and I’m amused that my school system uses the same blocker software

  • DeafAtheist

    That’s disturbing that an atheist related site would be blocked like that. If that happened to me I’d click the “submit a site review request” link and complain about it.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant Mehta

    Hemant, am I correct in assuming you did not complain about this to your school principal?

    Hehe — No complaints. My school blocks anything and everything… Youtube, the Onion, etc. The filter takes out everything worthwhile.

    My students showed me the proxies for everything, though, so I can make my way to all the sites… :)

  • The Man Version

    Try to get Answers In Genesis added to the blocked list. Too.

  • Miko

    @Jennifurret: Anonymous proxies and caching services (e.g., Google or the Internet Archive) are often good solutions. For more complicated blocks (e.g., censorship in China), some variant of encryption/onion routing is usually effective. See for example http://www.torproject.org/

    @TMV: The answer to censorship is never more censorship. AiG is the best argument against itself; we should let it shine in the full light of day.

  • Seth C.

    Could you not get an admin’s password, since you are faculty?

  • BGboothA

    Ironically, your site is blocked from my classroom as well! LOL

  • http://aboutkitty.blogspot.com/ Cat’s Staff

    The community college down the road from me blocks most Humanist/atheist sites (including the SSA), many science sites (including half of ScienceBlogs), from their computers (if you use your own you can get through). They don’t even tell you it’s blocked, the browser just closes all it’s windows. I submitted a complaint to the diversity awareness manager (or whatever his title is), but they seem more interested in keeping the peace between religions and not dealing with non-religion at all.

  • Sarah Langford

    My school (I teach at a private school) made the decision two years ago to abandon blocking software and allow teachers to actually supervise students. It’s great because now I can use youtube clips in class. Instead of blocking sites, someone (I think it’s the head of the senior school) checks the logs to see if anyone (student or staff) has been doing anything naughty online.

  • Harry Tomlin

    The sole purpose of having mandatory schooling for children is to teach them about the world they must live in. Since our world view varies widely and few can agree on where the line is between good and bad, to block anything from students will defeat the purpose of the school. Those who do the blocking are imposing their values and restricting the ability of students to learn. Schools should always encourage seekers of truth and expose superstitious nonsense. I have written a book that attempts to do just that. You can check it out at:
    http://www.eloquentbooks.com/TheGospelTruth-ARealityCheck.html

  • Todd

    What amuses me is that the kids are the ones showing teachers how to get around the filters.

  • Lauren D

    I tried the website, and luckily my school hasn’t blocked it. There’s hope! :D

  • Tom

    Hemant, you should inform the people who own the web site, and make sure to tell them which filtering software your school uses, so they can sue the filtering software company for defaming them in this manner.

  • Becca

    It’s always possible the site was compromised and it was blocked because of that instead of its content. “Malicious web reputation” could mean anything. However, knowing how many high schools filter web content, there’s a distinct possibility it’s a case of bad/bigoted/too broad filtering. Out of curiosity, can you get to your site? Can you get to the Dawkins site?

  • Nick

    Yes, he can get to his site. I tried it once back in Jan. at the school (chess tourney ;))….no problems with being blocked.

  • http://www.myspace.com/youreundoingmybeltwronghun Tim D.

    Just go to the following website if you want to get by any blocked sites on a school campus or other finicky locale:

    http://proxify.com/

    You just type in your address and it uses a proxy server to access the site from a different IP address, thus bypassing any firewalls working outward from the school’s network.

  • H

    The sole purpose of having mandatory schooling for children is to teach them about the world they must live in.

    Here’s an interesting take on that idea:

    http://www.spinninglobe.net/againstschool.htm

    Just go to the following website if you want to get by any blocked sites on a school campus or other finicky locale:

    http://proxify.com/

    You just type in your address and it uses a proxy server to access the site from a different IP address, thus bypassing any firewalls working outward from the school’s network.

    Until the school blocks that site.

  • http://cycleninja.blogspot.com Paul Lundgren

    My students showed me the proxies for everything, though, so I can make my way to all the sites… :)

    Hemant, I thank you, sir. That was the best laugh I’ve had in weeks. This gives me hope for America’s youth, after all.

  • http://sporkintheeye.blogspot.com Spork

    Just a word from an IT nerd:

    THE SCHOOL most likely has nothing to do with this. Blocking lists are generally purchased. (There are free, community supported lists as well.) IT organizations block categories (in this case Malicious). Things get miscategorized — sometimes accidentally, sometimes by the overzealous that might submit “atheist” as “malicious”.

    Almost all lists (free and paid for) have some feedback mechanism. That may very well be what the “submit site review request” is.

    My point here is that you probably DO want to submit it. The better categorized a thing is, the more accurate and more valuable the list is.

    Oh, and those that are suggesting various proxies mechanisms… The good services have a category for “proxy”… and most strictly administered network will block those as well — though there are certainly some tricks for weaseling around filtering.

  • Beth B.

    My 12th grade government class included a project on famous juvenile murderers, to be researched at school. It was quite a lot of fun to have the teacher instructing the entire class on the most useful methods for getting around the school’s blocking software. Ah, Ms. Graham…nobody told her what to do.

  • http://www.myspace.com/youreundoingmybeltwronghun Tim D.

    Until the school blocks that site.

    Well, assuming you can get into it in the first place (i.e. it hasn’t already been blocked), there are literally hundreds of similar sites with the same function. You can find lists of them in several places on the internet, like the tunnel sites — ztunnel, vtunnel, etc.

  • Alexis

    Several years ago Beaver College changed its name because several popular high school filtering services were preventing prospective applicants from finding it.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Potential new venue for atheist ads:

    Vatican Radio to air advertising

  • JimboB

    My workplace (aka the Library) now blocks me from viewing atheistnexus.org for the following reason: SPAM

    I am not amused :(

  • Rikka

    @Alexis really? I never knew that was why the name was changed and I live just a few miles from Arcadia, even took a Sign Language class there when I was in HS.

  • http://no2religion.blogspot.com no2religion

    @spork – I completely agree with you. As an IT person working specifically in K12 education I have seen many reasons a site could be blocked. Another common reason I have found is that the site is likely hosted by a hosting service that also hosts malicious or inappropriate sites and for this reason I would submit the site for review.

    As for proxies, any K12 school filter worth using will block proxies.

    @JimboB – The above applies to you also. The site is likely miscatagorized and some one needs to know.

    As for filtering in schools or libraries, if they receive federal E-rate funds they are required to adhere to CIPA.


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