Internet Filtering

Purpose

The primary purpose of this policy is to inform, educate, and set expectations for the members of the university community of their individual and corporate responsibilities toward the use of information, products, and services obtained from the internet. Internet filtering is provided to all students, faculty, and staff to protect them from the unintentional or deliberate accessing of internet content that is offensive and inappropriate. This policy is complementary to the “Acceptable Use Policy,” which states:

Azusa Pacific University’s domain name (apu.edu) and other university computer, network, and electronic mail systems exist for the primary purpose of transmitting and sharing information for the university’s purposes. The use of apu.edu by any member must be consistent with the mission of Azusa Pacific University and is subject to control by the university. Computer, network, communications, and internet services exist to promote the purposes of the University. Every attempt to protect privacy will be maintained, but observation of traffic flow and content may be necessary at the university’s discretion for security and legal reasons. The end-user who originates traffic will be responsible if the traffic does not conform to this policy.

Background

APU’s internet filtering is performed through a subscription service. The hardware and database, referred to as an application in this policy, is developed and maintained by a nationally recognized, publicly held company.

How Filtering Works

The internet filtering mechanism uses several categorization technologies to group URLs. These include human review, a licensed contextual URL filtering engine, internally developed neural net analysis programs, and automated recognition of content labels generated by the Internet Content Rating Association that web developers often put on their sites. In addition, to ensure that categories are continually refreshed with new URLs, the mechanism relies on a technology called adaptive filtering, which automatically logs accesses by existing users to URLs that are not included in the existing categorized database. These URLs are then sent to a central repository, where they are reviewed along with the requests of other filtering appliances that subscribe to this service on a daily basis. The URLs are then categorized, added to the database, and an updated database is automatically sent to APU’s filtering appliance. The same process works similarly in reverse when a legitimate website has been labeled inappropriately—the customer appliance marks the URL as legitimate, and the URL is uploaded to the central repository and evaluated.

Does Filtering of Internet Content Impact Performance?

The internet-filtering appliance relies on a firewall-independent technology called pass-by filtering, which reviews every packet of information that goes out to the Web—including HTTP, FTP, NNTP, chat, peer-to-peer, and streaming media—and stops those destined for websites or file-sharing applications that have been blocked. Operating in much the same manner as a network sniffer that scans all network traffic, the appliance’s high-performance pass-by filtering technology can accurately filter a full 100 Mbps of bandwidth, as much as two times the bandwidth possible with other vendors’ internet filters. By-pass filtering eliminates bottlenecks that often occur with other filtering technologies.

Policy

Azusa Pacific University will use software filters and other techniques whenever possible to restrict access to inappropriate information on the internet by students, faculty, and staff at all areas on campus including labs, classrooms, libraries, and offices. Inappropriate information is defined as information related to gambling, pornography, and anonymous proxy services. Reports of attempted access will be reported and scrutinized by management on a regular basis. See the Enforcement of Policy section on this page, as well as Appendix A (below) for all categories available to be filtered by the internet-filtering appliance.

Additionally, website categories or individual websites that consume excessive amounts of network resources, or pose a security risk to APU, will be subject to review and possible temporary blocking. A recommendation may be made to the University Information Management Committee (UIMC) for permanent blocking.

Disclaimer

APU assumes no liability for any direct or indirect damages arising from the user’s connection to the internet. APU is not responsible for the accuracy of information found on the internet, and only facilitates the accessing and dissemination of information through its systems. Users are solely responsible for any material that they access and disseminate through the internet.

Process to Block or Unblock Websites

Students, faculty, and staff may find that a website should be blocked or a legitimate website is unintentionally blocked. The steps below should be taken to report that a website should be blocked or request that a legitimate site be unblocked.

Requests to block or unblock a website must be submitted through the IMT Support Center, with the URL intended to be accessed or blocked and a brief description of what the site represents.

  1. Each request will be forwarded to the appropriate representative for review:
    1. Students: Student Life
    2. Faculty: Dean
    3. Staff: Deputy Chief Information Officer
  2. If the request is determined to be valid, the site will be filtered or unfiltered and a notification will be sent indicating that the request has been honored. In the event the request is determined to be invalid, an explanation will be provided.
  3. If the requester does not agree with the filtering decision, an appeal can be made through the office of the chief information officer (CIO), with consultation of the appropriate President’s Cabinet member.

Enforcement of Policy

Upon receiving notice from the internet filtering system of inappropriate access, the following process will be employed:

  1. First Offense. A description of inappropriate access with date, time, amount of time spent at the offending website(s), and amount of content reviewed or downloaded is reported to the following:
    1. Students: Student Life
    2. Faculty: Dean
    3. Staff: Supervisor
  2. Second Offense:
    1. APU user is immediately denied access to the internet.
    2. The appropriate department is advised of the offense:
      1. Students: Student Life
      2. Faculty: Dean
      3. Staff: Supervisor
      4. IMT receives return of the written warning with a signature indicating that the offender has acknowledged the warning and is providing signed commitment to refrain from further activity.
      5. APU user is given access.

Appeal can be made through the office of the chief information officer (CIO).

Appendix A

Categories available by Netspective filtering:

  • Advertising
  • Alcohol
  • Art
  • Automotive
  • Chat
  • Chat Extended
  • Consumer Information
  • Criminal Skills
  • Cult and Occult
  • Drugs
  • Dynamic Hosting
  • Education
  • Entertainment
  • Finance/Investing
  • Gambling
  • Games
  • General Business
  • Glamour
  • Government
  • Hacking
  • Hate Speech
  • Health
  • Hobbies
  • Hosting Site
  • Internet Tools
  • Job Search
  • Law
  • Lingerie
  • Mature Content
  • Military
  • News
  • Nudism and Naturism
  • Peer-to-Peer
  • Personals/Dating
  • Politics and Religion
  • Pornography
  • Portal
  • Reference
  • Science
  • Sex Education
  • Sexual Advice
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Shopping
  • Society
  • Sports
  • Streaming Media
  • Streaming Internet Radio
  • Technology
  • Tobacco
  • Travel
  • Violence
  • Weapons
  • Web Email
  • Web Log
  • Web Search
  • Web Search Filtered
  • Not Rated