Blocked Websites at PLNU

In Latest News, News by Corinne Hauck

Two minutes until your favorite artist’s tickets go live. You have your laptop open on the homepage, anxiously waiting in your dorm room to purchase a ticket before they sell out. The tickets are live. You enter your information and get redirected to a new webpage. The new tab opens up but the words on the blank page blare back at you: “Error 401 Not Allowed.”

PLNU’s wireless internet has a traffic filter that uses algorithms and a list of prohibited websites to block certain websites from being seen and used. This traffic filter was prompted by content and to encourage faster internet speed. The filter determines what is blocked, not PLNU.

“When the traffic filter went into place many years ago, the University administration at the time provided categories that should be blocked related to the appropriateness of the material on the site, such as adult content, drug abuse and questionable content,” said PLNU Chief Information Officer Corey Fling. “ITS has also added to this list for those categories that could impact network security, such as command and control, malware, hacking and phishing.”

Senior nursing major Alexis Empleo had a similar problem when she was trying to buy concert tickets to see Drake in 2018 and Chance the Rapper in 2017. The ticket website was blocked by the school’s wireless internet. “I usually just go my phone, turn off the WIFI, and use my cell data to buy the tickets,” said Empleo.

While Youtube is not blocked as a whole, some videos are blocked. Senior Alondra Gaspar has had trouble accessing videos that would be helpful for her nursing classes. “I think it was about things that were slightly more graphic,” said Gaspar.

According to Fling, some legitimate and appropriate websites could be blocked by the filter.  Students can report a website to Information Technology Services (ITS) to get access to it by visiting the “Web Page Blocked” page and clicking on “submit this site” link. If ITS deems the request legitimate, then they will unblock the website. You can also contact ITS at help@pointloma.edu or call them (619) 849-2222 from 7 a.m.–6 p.m. Monday through Thursday or 7 a.m.– 5 p.m. on Fridays.

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