Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Footnote on Internet Filtering

I should have mentioned in my earlier post that those of you who use Eircom as your Internet Service Provider can avail of their Broadband Guardian service free of charge. We have had a look at this service and, considering it's free, it's not half bad. It allows you to set up an account for each user of the internet and each account can be regulated in terms of how much time the account owner can spend on the internet per day, what times they can use it at, whether they can see mature content or not, who they can e-mail and who they can chat to using instant messaging programs.

The only downside of this service is that the Netopia ADSL Modem/Routers that Eircom issue do not support Broadband Guardian without a firmware update (note that the service is only compatible with Eircom-supplied Netopia Modem/Routers). There is a firmware update wizard that we tried which didn't work - speaking to Eircom support they told us that they didn't know anyone who got the wizard to work! We had to update the firmware manually, not difficult but you need to follow the directions carefully or your router becomes a paperweight. The average computer user should never be asked to update firmware - it's like asking the average car owner to change the oil in their engine - they could probably do it with guidance, but it's not an enjoyable experience. Then again, would we expect anything different from Eircom?

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