Sunday, 6 July 2014

The end of the Internet as we know it

When I first got a web site, for the company, back in the 90's, they were all a bit new. You could not sensibly suggest someone "look at my web site" as they probably did not even have Internet access.

Over the decades that has changed. There have been minor technical issues about making sure a web site shows correctly in the latest browsers or old browsers, and so on. Some minor compatibility issues that did not usually stop people seeing the site, just meant it did not look as good.

Governments have realised how important "Internet access" is, and are working on making sure everyone has access one way or another.

So, "look at my web site" is pretty much a sensible thing to say to anyone now.

But now, for the first time, I feel we are going backwards.

I cannot expect "look at my web site" to work any more, not even to friends and family.

This is because they might have kids, or might not know how to tell their ISP that they don't have kids, and so my web site may be blocked in a blanket category of "blogs". It is not reasonable to expect people to have to go through the hassle (and perceived risk) of turning off child protection settings to read my blog and then turn them back on again afterwards. It is not like one laptop in a house can access my blog whilst others cannot.

This is not even one of those "misclassification" issues about which I may have some slim hope of complaining to all ISPs. They classify my blog as a blog, which it is. The issue is that blocking blogs is seen as even vaguely sensible in the interests of child protection and that it is seen as sensible for an entire household to suffer this block.


So, what's the answer? Do I have to start an arms race to bypass the blocking systems (changing IPs, URLs, serving different content to different requesters, etc).

I am moving the URL of my blog anyway, to see how that impacts filters. will redirect to instead of but I am setting a redirect on the old URL for direct links. It is a pain that bloodspot cannot cope with my blog actually being on!


  1. I think changing a blog URL could have a negative impact of SEO. It's annoying that Google do not allow self hosting of Blogger blogs in the same way that Wordpress do - it's a "control" thing I guess.

  2. It's good to see isn't blocked and he's hosted in the same place and doesn't cover any topics that are child unsafe /sarcasm.

    1. We need slightly better tools - is not running the full set of child safe options so not blocking blogs, but some people will be.

  3. Would enabling SSL on your hostname solve the problem? I know some "games" websites get around blocks in schools by being hosted on a hostname and telling visitors to use https.
    Schools either need to use browser based url blocking, ssl intercepts or just blanket blog all pages.

    1. I think you will find that most schools install a certificate on all their machines so that they can intercept SSL.

    2. Schools used to just block all SSL and whitelist a selection of sites. However, over about the past 2 years or so, a *lot* of sites have moved to using SSL for everything, so this is becoming increasingly non-viable. We've standardised on intercepting and decrypting SSL connections on our filtering systems these days - we have a whitelist of stuff like banking sites that don't get intercepted, but everything else gets man-in-the-middled for auditing and filtering purposes. (As a side note: Android is _really_ annoying, since it requires you to set a screen unlock PIN in order to install a new CA certificate)