[LINK] ZDNet: 'NSW to censor student laptops'
Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Sat Oct 25 08:37:52 EST 2008
NSW to censor student laptops
Liam Tung, ZDNet.com.au
24 October 2008 05:47 PM
The NSW Department of Education and Training (DET) this week revealed
plans to limit internet access on the laptops given to the state's
senior students under the "digital education revolution" to a
pre-approved list of websites.
Speaking at an Australian Information Industry Association lunch
yesterday, Michael Coutts-Trotter, DET's director general and its
chief information officer, Stephen Wilson, said the department's
first priority in allowing students to take the laptops home was to
prevent them being sold off.
"On our laptop model, the first question is how do you prevent them
from being sold down at the pub," said Coutts-Trotter. "Well, you
equip them in a way so they are only of use within a DET environment
or are only of use for DET students or authorised users, such as
"So yeah, that's what it would mean: that you would be coming into an
authenticated environment from home," he said.
Later, chief information officer Wilson detailed the "unbreakable"
filtering system that would control students' internet experience on
the proposed laptops.
"Our internet filtering is unbreakable. We have a huge proxy array
that does all the filtering. We've just brought that in-house and the
reason we have done that is we want much tighter control over it,"
DET has developed 98 categories of websites that are accessible to
students. "Every internet site that's known is actually categorised.
If it isn't known, it's blocked. If you go to a site and it's not
categorised you can't get to it," he said.
"I know that the Commonwealth introduced an internet filtering
initiative that a high school student broke, or claimed to have
broken, very quickly. I just want you to understand ours is
completely different. We're at the end of the pipe and nothing goes
through that pipe that doesn't get filtered," he said.
The vision hinges on NSW acquiring an extra $245 million funding from
the Commonwealth over the $197 million currently proposed, which it
has claimed is necessary to deliver a laptop to every student in
years nine to 12.
The proposal has outraged long standing e-business consultant and
civil rights advocate, Roger Clarke.
"It would be bad enough of them creating a list of blocked sites, but
the notion that they would only allow students access to that which
has been approved is incredible," he told ZDNet.com.au today.
"What credibility can a government organisation and educational
bureaucracy have with the people they're trying to communicate with
when the students, through all of their own devices and through
friend's devices, have access to the world," he added.
NSW is yet to release an official expression of interest for the
laptops it wanted and Wilson said it wouldn't do so until an
agreement had been reached with Canberra.
Roger Clarke http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/
Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd 78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
Tel: +61 2 6288 1472, and 6288 6916
mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au http://www.xamax.com.au/
Visiting Professor in Info Science & Eng Australian National University
Visiting Professor in the eCommerce Program University of Hong Kong
Visiting Professor in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre Uni of NSW
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