Firewall restrictions put on campus WiFi

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Photo by Jillian Kurtz - Senior Bartus Taylor uses the Internet that the school provides to complete his schoolwork.

Jillian Kurtz

Throughout the past two weeks, students have been reporting a blockage in the content that is able to be accessed through the school’s WiFi. 

Florida Southern College has a bulk account through Spectrum Busines for their wireless services. The plan that the school provides users with is on Spectrum’s “fiber-rich network” which “supports more connected devices,” according to the Spectrum website. 

“We were trying to block some more general pornography and that type of thing, but it had an impact on YouTube and as soon as we found that out, we changed the settings,” Assistant Vice President of Technology John Thomas said. “The one that was reported to us was a political speech and the speech was okay, but it was blocking the comments. We don’t want to block that stuff.”

Atley Brown is a junior Musical Theatre major and has experienced blocked websites on the school’s WiFi. She looks up specific repertoire pieces for herself and has not been able to reach some “riskier [risqué] Broadway videos or explicit songs.”

“The WiFi on campus is extremely frustrating,” Brown said. “We pay a lot to be here and need the internet to be able to do our assignments. With the blocks I am unable to have everything I need for research and also just living my life.”

When trying to access urbandictionary.com, an error that pops up is a “Fortinet secure DNS service portal” error. Fortinet is a cybersecurity company that  markets network security to the “digitally evolving higher education industry.” 

After being brought to Thomas’ attention, the Southern recieved a follow up from Thomas stating that the classification of this site has since been changed and is now accessible through the network.  

“We do block very very little on the firewall because we try to keep it as open as possible,” Thomas said. “The one main area where we block stuff is what’s called BitTorn, which is historically used to download stuff illegally.”

Thomas has requested that if students find a website that is being blocked, to send him any information and he will look into the problem.

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