Sunday, December 28, 2014

Internet Filtering: The false sense of security

There has been much discussion in the Orthodox world regarding the Internet and its dangers. Internet is high on everyone's list of dangerous technology

For those who need the Internet there has been grudging rabbinic permission granted - but only if is is properly filtered. The assumption is that the average religious Jew does not have the ability to withstand the temptations of pornography and heresy and well as bitul Torah or Internet addiction.

The Boro Park residence where I am staying of course has the latest and strongest filtering program. Therefore it came as no surprise when I discovered that my email and a number of other programs no longer worked. 

What did surprise me was the simple activation of a free VPN program removed all blockages -  both for my computer and my Android tablet. VPN programs are widely used either for security when using public wifi networks or for creating a false IP address in the country of your choice. The later is useful when using Internet sites that only work in the USA.

I have not checked whether VPN removes every type of filtering. So far I have only tried it on perhaps the most popular one. I tried two different free VPN programs - and they both worked.

According to this article in PC World - what I accidentally discovered is in fact a well known realty - except to the computer illiterate older generations.
I am also not advocating removing filtering. My purpose is simply to warn parents and spouses as well as schools - that they have a false sense of security when they use filtered Internet services.


  1. If you're using opendns as your filter, configure your router (rather than individual computers) to access the Internet only using the opendns IP addresses, disable pass-through VPN access in your router interface and use a good router password, then you're in pretty good shape (though not perfect mind you).

  2. Can VPN programs be used in smartphones?

  3. They work with my android tablet - should work in smartphone

  4. rabbi_yitzchok_oratzDecember 29, 2014 at 1:26 PM

    The reason many religious Jews use filters is because they feel the damage to the percentage of people who fall is too great and therefore not worth the risk. That is very different than saying that the avarage religious does not have the ability to withstand the temptation. Think laws of Yichud.

  5. I'm afraid so. But if you control the only administrator account on the computers in your house - or if you're the only one who happens to understand how DNS servers work - then you have a fighting chance. That's why I wrote "you're in *pretty good* shape" :)

  6. I installed a VPN (the most popular one in free downloadss) on a computer with NativUSA and the filtering was fully working. I I'm wondering if it would bypass K9.


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