Free Internet Filtering Service Launches
Free DNS service provider OpenDNS has launched its new, free Web filtering solution targeted toward education. The service taps into the expertise of IT professionals to create categories of Web sites that can be blocked by administrators with the click of a button (or two).
OpenDNS provides a variety of Internet services and is widely used in K-12 and post-secondary institutions. (Its free DNS service, for example, is used in more than 10,000 schools.) These services also include adult site blocking, protection from phishing via PhishTank.com, Web proxy blocking, and domain whitelisting.
The new service uses "domain tagging" to allow individuals to place sites into categories that might be seen as undesirable to schools, colleges, and universities. Users then add their opinions on the validity of the tagging. Once a given site passes a certain threshold, it's then added to the category and will be blocked.
Campus administrators can select from any of a variety of site types to block, and each category will continually expand as more and more sites are added. There's also whitelisting functionality for those who want to allow certain sites in a category but trust the judgment of users on others. Those users will, over time, gain status in the system based on the accuracy of their submissions. Those with higher status will have greater weight in voting on sites. Eventually, some users will also reach "moderator" status.
OpenDNS is also releasing an API for open source developers who want to tap into the service.
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About the author: David Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's online education technology publications, including THE Journal and Campus Technology. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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