Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Internetworking this and that

From Dave, I learn that Canadian Cynic might come with an Adult Content warning. Specifically if you use the free wireless connection provided by the Halifax airport.

Now as I commented, this is unlikely to be an attack directly at Canadian Cynic. I suspect the airport uses a 3rd party content filter, a Net Nanny kind of thing.

So why would an airport do this? On advice from its legal consul. If their connection were used by a traveler to surf objectionable content, another traveler may launch a lawsuit. Note that this has nothing to do with whether the airport is actually liable for how people use the connection. It is about mitigating risk and exposure in the event of a lawsuit. It is about reducing complaints from customers who take objection to all kinds of things and are easily offended. It isn't about blocking content that airport officials themselves find objectionable. Its about making their lives easier when dealing with fickle customers.

Though it is possible that the IT guy at the airport is a conservative and is not a big fan of CC's rampant attacks on conservative viewpoints. It is a distinct possibility.

Which leads into another thing I was recently involved in. We use content filtering software to block objectionable content and also specific non-business time wasters. Employees are allowed personal use of the company Internet connection, but their are limits. An employee found these limits to be an impediment to his internet usage and then setup an HTTP Tunnel to his home computer. Now he had to have a certain amount of knowledge to know how to do this. What puzzled me is how he figured he wouldn't get caught. When discussing this case with other employees in the IT department, even they didn't catch on to what was the flaw in his logic.

The flaw he overlooked is this, if a company is recording what sites you visit to determine what is allowed or not, does it not make sense that they would record ALL sites you visit? That's how I caught this moron. 1.5 GB of traffic from one IP address in a day would attract my attention. Out of over a 1000 employees, he jumped to number 1 on the reports in terms of bandwidth usage. And all so he could play online games from his office all day. Well, he has lots of time to do that now.

So for anyone working in a corporation where you find internet usage policies restrictive, remember this, they record everything you do. And you cannot hide from that.


Dave said...

I just have to say, I learn more in one visit here than I usually learn all week.

Great post!

Catelli said...

Well thank-you!