Privacy was a virtue once held in the highest respects; a system simply described as mind your own business. However with the increase of digital storage and technology finding and holding the answers for everything, it’s hard to find it. A virtual private network (VPN) has become a way to avoid the interference caused by internet nannies and blocked websites, and they’re growing popularity and problems all over the nation’s schools.
People everywhere have begun using them to do what they please privately. This can be good or bad for a number of reasons—some are harmless, they just make you feel more secure, others not only given some personal information to the VPN, but also use VPNs as a way to visit Not Suited for Work (NSFW) sites. It isn’t a frequent problem but a problem nonetheless.
Alhambra Unified School District (AUSD) blocks students from using VPN’s on their school wifi, AUSD-BYOD. Some students have found ways to maneuver past the filter, but many can’t; because of this, a number of sites cannot be reached, helpful or not. Students complain about this and despise the monitoring, but they don’t know the consequences of not having one.
“The CIPA (Child Internet Protection Act) requires us to have a content filter to receive Federal Funding,San Gabriel Computer Technician Daniel Lopez said. “An outgoing VPN utility being used on our network circumvents the District’s content filter, and this is not allowed.”
While that law is in effect, there are students who use VPNs throughout schools; some in San Gabriel High School. One such student was recently caught using a VPN by a teacher, and sent to student services. Many kids don’t understand why this is such an issue. It is capable of allowing students to stray off the topic in classes when allowed to use their phones. Naturally, the district is only trying to ensure the learning environment of their classrooms is untouched by the internet’s alluring sites, but for many students, those lures are too strong to break off of easily, and school becomes a place where they are restricted. Restricted to learn.