disapppointing censorship


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Isaac-1
December 11, 2012, 10:28 AM
I spent a few hours yesterday sitting in waiting rooms at a hospital in the Texas Medical Center in Houston yesterday while my wife was having some tests ran. At one point I decided to browse the net on my android tablet using the hospital's complimetary guest wifi, checked my email, the news, weather, etc. then went to check some message threads on a state shooting message board and was greeted with a screen showing "WEAPONS VIOLATION" along with the address for my computer, along with the site I was trying to visit and the time. I can understand blocking some subject matters on a public access wifi network, maybe including porn, illegal file sharing sites, etc., but to block a gun related message board when the waiting rooms have hunting magazines in them seems a bit over the top. Just thought I would share.

Ike

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Jorg Nysgerrig
December 11, 2012, 10:31 AM
As mentioned in many other threads about this same thing, almost all of these web filters have standard categories and most administrators just click all of them.

45lcshooter
December 11, 2012, 10:35 AM
Im sure some how the director of the hospital is on the left side of the political views. And that would surprise me, because your in TEXAS. Some how their IT department got some information for anti-gun people. I hope you werent there long, without gun websites.

I get on a lot of free wi-fi from businesses and i don't get "weapons violations" messages.

HoosierQ
December 11, 2012, 10:50 AM
Yep. I doubt they are singling out these gun sites. The Internet Security Industry has some sort of classification scheme and they attach a classification to just about all of them. "Weapons" is one of those classifications, for good or bad. "Hate" is another. "Religious" is another...there are many. One of the marginally newer and hottest categories is "Social Media"...like Facebook.

The network admin probably just opened up the few they could think of and left "Weapons" checked. You gotta realize that these guys are working Network security and not really thinking about what'll get excluded.

There are very few of these categories that they would bother to actually censor, like "Pornography". What they are really worried about is viruses. Lots of sites, and categories of sites, are loaded with viruses and so they allow as few categories through as possible. It's their network and they have to keep in running, often to support patient care.

I think it is also safe to assume, quite frankly, that some hospitals/business probably do think "Weapons" is inappropriate for a hospital. "Weapons injure people, we fix people" kind of mentality. They may be doing so in good faith not knowing all that will be excluded like hunting, NRA, etc. They figure they're screening out sites that tell people how to make bombs and nerve gas.

Not a big conspiracy I think. Just a bunch of computer dudes being told what to do by higher up computer dudes who probably report to an excutive that reports to a board made up of doctors and maybe even nuns.

AABEN
December 11, 2012, 10:57 AM
Yep. I doubt they are singling out these gun sites. The Internet Security Industry has some sort of classification scheme and they attach a classification to just about all of them. "Weapons" is one of those classifications, for good or bad. "Hate" is another. "Religious" is another...there are many. One of the marginally newer and hottest categories is "Social Media"...like Facebook.

The network admin probably just opened up the few they could think of and left "Weapons" checked. You gotta realize that these guys are working Network security and not really thinking about what'll get excluded.

There are very few of these categories that they would bother to actually censor, like "Pornography". What they are really worried about is viruses. Lots of sites, and categories of sites, are loaded with viruses and so they allow as few categories through as possible. It's their network and they have to keep in running, often to support patient care.

I think it is also safe to assume, quite frankly, that some hospitals/business probably do think "Weapons" is inappropriate for a hospital. "Weapons injure people, we fix people" kind of mentality. They may be doing so in good faith not knowing all that will be excluded like hunting, NRA, etc. They figure they're screening out sites that tell people how to make bombs and nerve gas.

Not a big conspiracy I think. Just a bunch of computer dudes being told what to do by higher up computer dudes who probably report to an excutive that reports to a board made up of doctors and maybe even nuns.
Then they should not have grads with guns!!

Water-Man
December 11, 2012, 10:58 AM
In Texas? No, it can't be.:rolleyes:

dbp
December 11, 2012, 11:16 AM
but to block a gun related message board when the waiting rooms have hunting magazines in them seems a bit over the top.

Don't bring that to their attention or they will take away the magazines as well. :)

Deanimator
December 11, 2012, 12:00 PM
I work at (but not for) a big hospital organization. They, apparently at random, block various firearms sites.

They block this site, but NOT gunrightsmedia, forgottenweapons or ohioccwforums.

I totally sidestepped the matter by setting up SSH and VNC on my own Linux server at home. I SSH in, then run VNC to access Firefox on the server. In fact, that's how I'm posting this now.

HoosierQ
December 11, 2012, 12:23 PM
:confused:Grads with guns?:confused:

hq
December 11, 2012, 12:32 PM
using the hospital's complimetary guest wifi, checked my email, the news, weather, etc. then went to check some message threads on a state shooting message board and was greeted with a screen showing "WEAPONS VIOLATION" along with the address for my computer, along with the site I was trying to visit and the time.

That's why my laptop, tablet and smartphone have 4G/3G. I rarely use complimentary wifi, even when it's WPA encrypted, password protected and unrestricted. There are just too many variables and uncertainties involved in connecting to someone else's local area network for Internet access. Over a decade in IT as a network security specialist made me paranoid and back in the 90's the possibilities to gather information were limited, compared to what they are today.

Small restaurants and cafes, maybe, but if the company that offers complimentary wifi is large enough to have an IT department, I rather pass. Unless I'm abroad or staying at a hotel, of course.

aarondhgraham
December 11, 2012, 01:00 PM
but to block a gun related message board when the waiting rooms have hunting magazines in them seems a bit over the top.

A friend of mine was called to her son's middle school,,,
It seemed he had violated the strict no guns policy,,,
Because he had a copy of Sports Afield magazine,,,
The violation came from the cover picture,,,
It was a scoped hunting rifle.

She asked her son where he got the magazine,,,
He replied, "I checked it out from the school library."

My friend said to the principal,,,
"When you suspend the librarian without pay, then you can suspend my son."

Slightly off topic,,,
But close enough to give me a good laugh.

Aarond

.

thefish
December 11, 2012, 01:05 PM
well, it was

"complimetary guest wifi"

Can't really get too bent out of shape about a service that is free. I could understand it if were a fee based service.

coloradokevin
December 11, 2012, 01:26 PM
Personally, I do think this sort of thing is a growing concern, but not so much just from the local area wifi perspective. The local network wifi issue is a nuisance, and I think it does demonstrate an anti-gun philosophy on the part of an organization that applies these filters, but there are bigger issues with technology. First, let me clarify that it DOES irritate me that places block entire categories of sites under the guise of "network security", especially when we're just talking about gun-related message boards. I ran into this while staying at a hotel this summer, finding that THR was blocked due to its relationship with "weapons". My choice to look at a gun-related sites in no way impacts network security issues, but the network administrator's choice to block such sites clearly demonstrates an interest in filtering the stuff that I'm allowed to read while on their network (by the way, the NRA wasn't accessible, but the VPC and Brady Campaign websites were). It is hard to feel that such a move is anything but a political stance on their part. Networks have filtered porn sites for years, and I guess THR is now considered to be a categorical peer to porn? Should gun owners be satisfied with being thrown into an internet fringe category that is comparable to a porn site?

More to the point of the "bigger concern" I mentioned, I think that we're already starting to see this trend develop within search engines and whatnot. For example, many of us are now aware that Google will no longer display firearms related returns in their shopping feature. Although it doesn't seem immediately likely that broader censorship will happen, nothing would prevent them from filtering ALL of their search engine returns in the future, so that no gun-related sites would appear when using their search engine.

As technology continues to advance I think we need to be more mindful of the fact that certain groups/businesses may attempt to direct our actions through electronic censorship. I'm not suggesting that the government would try to implement such unconstitutional practices, but I do believe that we may see these "filters" legally applied by private companies who have a HUGE impact on life in modern America (Google, Facebook, etc).

Think about it: even if you changed your search engine to avoid Google, you'd still be hard-pressed to entirely avoid Google these days. They have their feet into so many places on the web. Similarly, if 3-4 big search engines all decided to censor firearms related content, we'd quickly see the VAST majority of web users finding themselves unable to access this type of information online.

powell&hyde
December 11, 2012, 01:27 PM
I've gotten around this by using a proxy. The one I use supports 2 versions, ad driven and paid version for windows.http://www.hotspotshield.com/en

k_dawg
December 11, 2012, 05:33 PM
People may try to 'justify' the policy, but it is essentially the same as if you were trying to locate a local Synagogue and you were blocked.

Different people, organizations and establishments have their own bigotry. They often hide behind 'policies'.

With respect to it being 'free', was it acceptable to have 'White Only water fountains, if the water was free?

Skribs
December 11, 2012, 05:47 PM
Aaron, that story is hilarious.

mcdonl
December 12, 2012, 07:54 AM
I have worked at a hospital for almost 20 years, and I am enjoying my morning coffee while typing this post. Of course, I know everyone in IS and most of them are gunnies anyway :)

Certaindeaf
December 12, 2012, 08:03 AM
Use a smartphone or one a those dongles for your laptop.

Double Naught Spy
December 12, 2012, 09:04 AM
disapppointing censorship

LOL, when you start providing others with free stuff, I am sure you won't like it when they complain that you don't cater to their particular needs. You know they don't provide HBO in the waiting rooms either? Heck, most don't even have the science channel.

However, if you are going to take the time to complain, then consider taking the time to find out about 3rd party annonymous browser sites that will allow you to surf the same wifi signal, but the information routes you through a 3rd party server and address such that the filters on see the 3rd party's address. Used to surf the forums on the wifi at the kids' gymnastics place that way.

roadchoad
December 12, 2012, 09:35 AM
I ran into this at the doc the other day too. I was able to view gateway to air guns, but pyramydair, THR, and airgunsdaily were blocked.

Godsgunman
December 12, 2012, 09:49 AM
I work for a health system (hospital w affiliated clinics) and its all pretty much random. They block alot of stuff even simple sport sites like espn. I wouldn't say they are just targeting gun related sites, they just fall into the mass vaccuum of sites that are blocked. Especially as an employee its ridiculous how much they block, thank God for my smart phone otherwise I'd actually have to work at work ;).

Isaac-1
December 12, 2012, 12:58 PM
I started this message thread because I found this sort of censorship disappointing, not that I lack the technical ability to get around it either through ssh tunelling, cell phone tehtering, etc. The comparison to not providing HBO is not valid either, as HBO is a premium service that would cost them extra, instead it is more like providing basic cable then blocking Foxnews, something where the effort to block exceeds the effort to allow it. The same for concerns about computer viruses, etc. is also not very valid in this situation, as this is a public access wifi network designed to be used by guests, many of which may be bringing their own viruses with them not a network designed to be used by employees using hospital computers. As a person that deals with IT issues at work myself, I fully understand the potential need to block certain web sites in the work place, this can include ESPN, facebook, etc. as many employees, particularly younger ones, don't understand moderation when it comes to checking such things while on the clock, but again this is not something that should be blocked on a public wifi network, and in my limited browsing was not blocked on the public access wifi network I posted about. Let me finish by saying sure you get what you pay for with a complimentary service, but in the case of a hospital they will likely be making hundreds if not thousands of dollars indirectly off of the people using this service.

Double Naught Spy
December 12, 2012, 03:15 PM
Once again, its free. When you provide the free stuff, then you can put out there whatever you want.

Otherwise, if you don't like it, then don't use it, but you probably still used it anyway.

Otherwise, complaining about something that is free is just low brow. They don't have to provide you with anything at all. Would that make you happier?

Let me finish by saying sure you get what you pay for with a complimentary service, but in the case of a hospital they will likely be making hundreds if not thousands of dollars indirectly off of the people using this service.

You get what you pay for and yet you still managed to complain about it, LOL. As far as whether or not the hospital makes money from the service isn't really your concern. You didn't pay for it.

Isaac-1
December 12, 2012, 03:33 PM
No, but I am paying them lots of money in the form of insurance co-pay for tests they ran, plus incidentals like $20 for parking for a few hours, etc. So sure it is complimentary like public water fountains, or restrooms in a facility one is patronizing and i would not have a problem complaining about those if they had issues, or more to the point if they had what I would consider offensive signage.

Ike

p.s. note I have not complained to the hospital about this, I have only made a comment about being disappointed by this type of censorship on a message board, and I did not name the hospital, just that it was one of at least a dozen in the Texas Medical center.

hacksaw
December 12, 2012, 04:52 PM
Tor browser...'nuff said..

acdodd
December 12, 2012, 07:45 PM
The hospital pays for the WiFi.
They let you use it for free.
It is not a public service. It is a private service they let the public use.
Your insurance, copay and parking have nothing to do with it.
Do you think they will charge you less for the procedure if you agree to not use their WiFi?
It's not censorship. You are free to visit any site you want as long as you are footing the bill for the connection.

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