Foil the Site Blockers!
May 18, 2004 8:48 AM   Subscribe

I'm in 11th grade and my school is WAY to strict about the web sites kids go to. They get mad at me for going to sites like this, I think that its ridiculous. So I wanted to know if there was a site out there (for free) that would get past our site blocking software. Our school uses Novell Border Manager and I'm guessing one of the newer versions, they don't tell us. I'm looking for a free web site that will hide where I go and the IP that I'm going to. I just want my internet back! Thank you!
posted by meatpuff to Computers & Internet (39 answers total)
 
You want somebody to "pleas hellp" in furnishing a proxy address through
a firewall?

I could think of a hundred places other than AxMe where you could pose that question.

But I ain't gonna help you. You're young, you're in school...finding a workaround on your own is all part of the learning process, hacker padawan.

(I'm just telling you this because someone else here no doubt will as well.)
posted by Smart Dalek at 9:00 AM on May 18, 2004


Do it like people in Communist dictatorships and use E-mail to Web access.
posted by inksyndicate at 9:06 AM on May 18, 2004


Most websites that would get you around blocking software eventually get blocked as well. You're on your own, kiddo.
posted by mischief at 9:07 AM on May 18, 2004


"Peacefire.org was created in August 1996 to represent the interests of people under 18 in the debate over freedom of speech on the Internet."
posted by Otis at 9:09 AM on May 18, 2004


Don't use school-provided Internet access for things they don't want you seeing? If you're at school, wait till you get home to read MeFi.
posted by mrbill at 9:13 AM on May 18, 2004


You're young, you're in school...finding a workaround on your own is all part of the learning process, hacker padawan.

I'm in 11th grade at work and my school work is WAY to strict about the web sites kids go to. They get mad at me for going to sites like this, I think that its ridiculous. So I wanted to know if there was a site out there (for free) that would get past our site blocking software. Our school work uses Novell Border Manager and I'm guessing one of the newer versions, they don't tell us. I'm looking for a free web site that will hide where I go and the IP that I'm going to. I just want my internet back! Thank you!

Better?
posted by dflemingdotorg at 9:21 AM on May 18, 2004


metatalk
posted by PrinceValium at 9:25 AM on May 18, 2004


Couldn't you just convert www.metafilter.com from Dutch to English on babelfish? That's what we did in high school. That and a bunch of dope.
posted by Hildago at 9:26 AM on May 18, 2004


I guess I'll elaborate on proxies since Smart Daleck won't.

assuming your in internet explorer, try hitting tools->internet options and then switching to the connections tab and hitting the LAN settings button. there should be a checkbox to enable proxy servers. now, all you gotta do is find the address and port of a proxy server somewhere (try, of course, searching on google) and punchin' in all the necessary info and see if it works.
posted by mcsweetie at 9:33 AM on May 18, 2004


That's good stuff, Hildago. I wonder if that's easily traceable.
posted by callmejay at 9:36 AM on May 18, 2004


I also wonder if schools/employers would look very unfondly at a student/employee connecting to an external proxy all the time.
posted by callmejay at 9:37 AM on May 18, 2004


Google's page translation wizard can be used as a poor man's proxy. Here's MetaFilter through the proxy: MeFi. Notice the "langpair=en%7Cen" parameter? That translates english to english.

I dowt your scholl will block Google.
posted by y6y6y6 at 9:37 AM on May 18, 2004


I understand proxys and all. But all our computers connect to one computer that controls all of the internet. So I first have to connect to that proxy then I would like to have a site to go to were it hides were I go, becuase the proxy works by detecting the IP and the web address of the site you are going to. I need something like http://www.anonymizer.com. Thanks, and i mean im at work ;)
posted by meatpuff at 9:40 AM on May 18, 2004


I dowt your scholl will block Google.
I wouldn't be surprised if they'd block translate.google.com though.
posted by duckstab at 9:53 AM on May 18, 2004


okay, so why doesn't anonymizer work? Is this list helpful?
posted by jessamyn at 9:57 AM on May 18, 2004


Ok well back in the day, they had all computers facing the teacher, or if in a library, easily viewable by all librarians. We had no controls but if they saw us doing something non-education related they were all over us. Really were against kids playin flash games in the library and using the computers during a computer class for non-computer stuff was just asking to get in trouble. No proxy would have helped me.

But if you have enough time on your hands to justify setting up your browser to access a remote proxy to get to metafilter, then get yourself (Kazaa or otherwise) something along the lines of Wingate. Run it on your home computer, enable logging, and secure it. This way you have your own private HTTP proxy server. Check the logs often to make sure it's no being used by others.
posted by geoff. at 9:59 AM on May 18, 2004


I'm wondering if there might be a non-technolohical fix for this, perhaps one involving diplomacy.

Try talking to your librarian, and see if the school would be willing to unblock specific sites if petitioned to do so.
posted by orange swan at 10:14 AM on May 18, 2004


"non-technological", rather than what I wrote, which sounds like some kind of new nerd dance.
posted by orange swan at 10:15 AM on May 18, 2004


At my High School, they had to stop students from playing games on the computers because most of the computers were filled up with game players resulting in no open computers for people who wanted to do research.
One fun trick I used was to use a boot-up disk and delete the Novell software from the DOS prompt (they only tracked web site usage, not actual computer processes).
Anyways, the BEST way to get around this (and this applies to any future job)? Become tight with your IT people. They are the ones with the true power. Oh, and seriously, the janitors. Even in school, they saved my ass from expulsion once.
posted by jmd82 at 10:21 AM on May 18, 2004


Try talking to your librarian, and see if the school would be willing to unblock specific sites if petitioned to do so.

You are so Canadian. Diplomacy, this. Diplomacy, that. (Really, I'm jealous because I can't even think that way at this point.)

Seriously, I'll bet the orders come up from higher than the librarian. Maybe from a higher authority than the principal. But, even if it does come from the principal, getting policy changed by asking nicely is a remote chance. Most American HS principals are little Francisco Francos with bad breath.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:27 AM on May 18, 2004


Seriously, I'll bet the orders come up from higher than the librarian.

Librarians have become defenders of the First Amendment lately, though. He/she might be a good ally.
posted by callmejay at 10:32 AM on May 18, 2004


I'm old and didn't have computers in school, not even in college. I don't understand this question. I mean, if you are in school, shouldn't you be learning and stuff? If you are just reading mefi, isn't the school just babysitting you? Is this typical of schools now? I don't think I like my tax money going to pay for other people's babysitting.
posted by free pie at 10:34 AM on May 18, 2004


"see if the school would be willing to unblock specific sites if petitioned to do so."

Hmmm...... I hadn't thought of that. What sites are you trying to access meatpuff?

And jmd82 is 100% right. Social engineering will trump first rate hacking skills any day.
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:34 AM on May 18, 2004


I'm in 11th grade at work and my school work is WAY to strict about the web sites
Same answer; see above. ;-P
posted by mischief at 10:37 AM on May 18, 2004


Orangatango might be the ticket for you.

Although I suspect that over time, access to any service like it will be discovered and blocked by the authorities. I understand at one time that Orangatango got a fair bit of use in China. And one day, of course, they got blocked.

Selecting a proxy server for your browser and changing it every once in a while is probably your best bet.

Or get an SSH account and use lynx (or, if you have X-servers at school, port forwarding).
posted by weston at 10:57 AM on May 18, 2004


I understand proxys and all. But all our computers connect to one computer that controls all of the internet.

I reckon that would be the gateway? maybe I have some misunderstanding of how this crazy internet thing works, but a proxy should still work fine because regardless of where the traffic is coming from, the gateway will see it as originating from the proxy server address. right? maybe someone more in the know could straighten me out?

I don't understand this question. I mean, if you are in school, shouldn't you be learning and stuff? If you are just reading mefi, isn't the school just babysitting you?

you've got it all wrong! in today's school of the future, as soon as an assignment is completed a new one is issued. from the time class starts until the time it ends, the pencils are burnin' up the sheets. there is no time for bathroom breaks, socializing, or leisurely web browsing! clearly, meatpuff is a troublemaker.
posted by mcsweetie at 11:07 AM on May 18, 2004


That's right, I'm advocating that kids should not be allowed to go to the bathroom during the school day. Don't be silly.

I remember school as going from one learning activity to another, with 10 minute breaks each hour. Things must be different now if kids have so much break time that they have to worry about finding a proxy server to access the sites they want to look at.
posted by free pie at 11:34 AM on May 18, 2004


Maybe he does it in study hall. Or he spends time in the library before or after school because for some reason he has to be at school, or not at home, that early/late. Maybe he's finished with his homework. Maybe there's a lesson being taught while he's sitting at that computer that he doesn't need any more review on. Maybe he has allotted computer time to make sure he gets his comp sci project done, and he already did it.

When I was in high school, kids were learning things like how to turn the computer on, and how to make their name print on the screen repeatedly with BASIC. I did the work for most of my class, and still got a few novels read. Sorry about that tax money, free pie. I do appreciate the air conditioning and the big parking lot, though.
posted by bingo at 11:58 AM on May 18, 2004


Librarians have become defenders of the First Amendment lately, though. He/she might be a good ally.

Quite right. They will likely tell you that the reason you can't get to sites like this one is because the Children's Internet Protection Act forces all US schools who receive e-rate money from the government to install filters to "protect" kids like you from stuff like this. Quite often this results in overblocking because people don't know how to use the software, don't think kids have first amendment rights, or would rather be safe than sorry. When you say "get mad at me for going to sites like this" do you mean that a human actually gave you a hard time? Or do you mean it's blocked at the Novell Border Manager border? If it's the former, you need more obfuscation and diplomacy techniques [lynx browsing is one good way to do it, changing your colors to blue on white helps make ther pages not stand out so much, at least in the blue/white]. If the latter, then go look at lists of proxy servers and etc. I notice from your website that you do the school's web page? You may want to try something along the lines of claiming you need unfettered access to work on the site during school hours, and see how that goes.

In a general sense, however, the school is legally liable for any "damage" done to your tender mind, so please keep in mind that while the rules can be stupid, the school can be in between a rock and a hard place in terms of quite possibly wanting to give you access -- or not wanting to fuss about it all the time -- while at the same time seriously fearing that they will lose their funding for connectivity with one well-placed lawsuit by some kid who saw tits at school and was scarred for life. The more you can stress that you're looking for stuff to read, not necessarily gawk at, the more you might be able to get things to go your way.
posted by jessamyn at 12:35 PM on May 18, 2004


They didn't have study hall when you were in school? Afterschool library access? Doing whatever during lunch period? It's possible to both be at school and legitimately using a computer for personal browsing. (on preview, what bingo said)

Part of a good education is encouraging curiosity about one's world, developing the skills to explore those topics in greater depth, and to foster creative thinking skills including the ability to discern for oneself which information/opinion is worth further consideration and which is utter trash. Aggressive filtering of high schoolers' reading is just plain silly is not outright counter-productive. Schools get understandably nervous about letting students browse porn sites where a passerby may see it, get offended, and sue the district for every dollar it's got. But how authoritarian is that school that even a general interest, topical discussion site like MeFi is considered off-limits? Sheesh, there's plenty of good learnin' to be had here. Hell, I'm a long time removed from high school and still learn something new from the green every day. The links from the blue are frequently thought-provoking, as are the conversations arising from them. If there are students who would rather use downtime to check the latest FPPs instead of exchanging IMs, I say more power to 'em.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 12:38 PM on May 18, 2004


is if not outright counter-productive
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 12:42 PM on May 18, 2004


You know, I don't say this as often as I should, but I love jessamyn!
posted by ColdChef at 12:57 PM on May 18, 2004


I personally know meatpuff in real life (man that sounds odd) and can vouch that his intentions--from what I can ascertain--aren't nefarious. He visits the usual comic sites we all do, mostly for photoshopping fun, and see's the fence his school has put up as a challenge.

His teacher knows he's trying to find a way around it as does IT. They haven't restricted his access any more than any other student and he knows they know. In fact, he's been busted more than once for finding loopholes in their web/instant messaging/web email filter.

Oh, and he's doing this because he's finished his computer lab homework, has taken tests far in advance of where the rest of the class is and is bored stiff.

I've also told him to put up a proxy and we had one up a few months ago but that server's processor died. Besides, he knows he can get out via a proxy and, I assume since he's already solved the problem that way, he wants to see if there are other ways around The Man.

If anything, I'm hoping the the school's IT department hires him.
posted by Tacodog at 1:01 PM on May 18, 2004


Yeah. Good answer, jessamyn. I wish you had been my librarian in high school.
posted by bingo at 1:05 PM on May 18, 2004


"I assume since he's already solved the problem that way, he wants to see if there are other ways around The Man."

Research then? Well, that's a horse of another color.

Your school may have a world facing web server that doesn't run outbound traffic through the proxy. Write your own webpage on the school's server that will make manual http requests and display the pages under the school's domain name. The code to do this is really tiny in php and could be triggered from an otherwise innocuous webpage via a url encoded variable.

Of course while this is an elegant hack, it's not very covert. If the sys admin will give you ftp access to the web server they're pretty much overtly handing you the keys.
posted by y6y6y6 at 1:30 PM on May 18, 2004


Is there a free version of Anonymizer? (or would that not work?)
posted by amberglow at 1:50 PM on May 18, 2004


I've used https://www.megaproxy.com/_secure/ to get around Websense filtering. It may work to get around other filters as well. You won't be able to login or post, but you can at least browse. Also, note the full URL; Websense blocks http://www.megaproxy.com but not https://www.megaproxy.com/_secure/.
posted by ecrivain at 2:46 PM on May 18, 2004


Please don't encourage high school students to download KaZaA or any other file sharing programs. I spend a good deal of my library time trying to clean out all the spyware and scumware that comes with it, since the kids at my school aren't too swift about reading the user agreements (if indeed, there are any) when downloading file sharing prgrams and games; or if they do read 'em, they don't know what they mean or don't care.
posted by Lynsey at 8:37 PM on May 18, 2004


ericvain - Websense blocks https://www.megaproxy.com/_secure/ to at this site :(

I generally use google translation, Bloglines or any NEW proxy they haven't blocked yet.

via e-mail (usually in BlogLines) I use GrabPage and WatchThatPage, google searching with CapeMail (for kicks).
posted by DBAPaul at 12:21 PM on May 19, 2004


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