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Thursday June 15th, 2000

Doug Turner writes, "I am on my paternity leave and I get this idea. I want a way that I can set my son down in front of Mozilla (when he is old enough), and make sure that he can not go to any site that I think are not for him.

"I know that there are a bunch of programs that do this like 'cyber-babysitter' or whatever, but they have two problems: (a) they are doing the rating instead of me, and (b) domains pop up faster than these pieces of software can keep up with.

"So the idea is to have a button on Mozilla that will lock the navigator to a paticular domain/website. I have a proof of concept working now. It is missing a few things but it is a start. Check it out... (requires Mozilla)"


#1 Wrong Aproach, Try This Instead

by Crutcher

Saturday June 17th, 2000 10:52 PM

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Ban software will NEVER be effective, as the net grows faster than any organization can index it. Every year, a smaller and smaller percentage of the net is actually indexed by search engines (it's now arround 15%), so you see, banning sites is a doomed approach.

Instead, (and this is bassed on some feasability work I just did for an ethics class) I suggest you alter your approach so that the "Protected" mode works on a disallow-by-default approach.

This means you ADD allowed sites (a pain in the ass, but this WORKS, and the other aproach does not). So in the "Unprotected" mode, the button would be a "Permitted" button, and it would add the current site to the permitted list.

With a little extra hacking, the "Protected" mode browser could have a "Request" option on the pop-up menu, so that when you logged on in the "Unprotected" mode, you could review links that the kid had requested access to, and allow them if you wanted to.

Think about the numbers involved, and you will see that I am right.

#7 Re: Wrong Aproach, Try This Instead

by badben

Sunday June 18th, 2000 7:03 AM

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> the net grows faster than any organization can index it. [so[ > disallow-by-default

Which means that the "protected" surfer can't access many very interesting sites, which often are created by individuals and are small.

#8 Well, Yeah., but that's the cost

by Crutcher

Sunday June 18th, 2000 10:46 AM

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If you want effective "protection", there is no other way to do it. I mean, you want to filter out a source of information that is growing faster than it can be indexed? You can't. For effective "control" you have to disallow by default.

Personally, reading the med/adult/psych/howto make a bomb books that I found in local librarys never fscked me up, so I don't see the point.

#27 Combine These Approaches

by Shalom <johnkeiser@earthlink.net>

Tuesday June 20th, 2000 2:29 PM

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I like this approach a lot, except I think that it should hook up to a central database of allowed/disallowed sites so that you don't have to do so much work.

The child can still request access to a certain site, and then you can check it out. If it turns out to be harmless, you can allow the site and your personal settings will forever override the current settings.

--John Keiser

#2 Actually...

by orev

Sunday June 18th, 2000 1:59 AM

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Your arrogance is pretty amazing. "..you will see that I am right".

If you actually read the whole post up there, you'll see that's *exactly* what he's doing. And ever further, if you tried it, you'd that's what it's written to do. It's pretty cool.

So quick to judge, so slow to think, evaluate.

#3 Actually...

by orev

Sunday June 18th, 2000 2:00 AM

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Oh yeah...

jackass.

#4 I LIEK CHEESE

by megaloB <megalob@jps.net>

Sunday June 18th, 2000 2:57 AM

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OH MY GOSH YOU LAID THE SMACK DOWN ON THAT PORR FOOL !!!

HI FIVES FOR EVERYBODY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111

#12 The nature of the internet

by drwho9437

Sunday June 18th, 2000 2:46 PM

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The one rule of the internet is that it CAN'T be controlled. You can't stop things like Napster and you can't stop what people look at online. Not with software at least. The kids could just install another browser. So the only software solution would to build it right into the OS but I would hate the feeling that Microsoft or any other company for that matter could find out what I or my kids where looking at just look at the whole real player thing. I mean it is just a bad idea. Bottom line the internet is the real world in a mirror don't let your kids into it until they are ready to be in the world or you can trust them not to do "bad" things online.

#10 NO it dont.

by Crutcher

Sunday June 18th, 2000 10:54 AM

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The message, and the inforamtion on the dude's website, do NOT make this clear. they say "will lock the navigator to a paticular domain/website." What is your interpreataion of this? It does not say "lock on to", and seems to suggest that pushing said button will exclude the specified domain. Perhaps the code does work this way, but it's description does not imply this. Dont blame me for other's poor documentation.

Judgement? This is a design discusion, there is only better and worse, not right and wrong.

Oh yeah, eat me, troll boy.

#17 Yes it does actually

by shinzo

Sunday June 18th, 2000 10:14 PM

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What do you think it means when you lock one thing "to" another? It means that they are locked together. The documentation makes perfect sense if you take the time to read it.

#23 Definitions

by Tanyel <tanyel@straightblack.com>

Monday June 19th, 2000 1:59 PM

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I was taught that "lock" means "prevent from opening" such as when people lock doors or files. With that definition, it seems that the writer said "...the idea is to have a button on Mozilla that will [prevent] the navigator [from opening] to a paticular domain/website." The writer should have said "attach" if he meant "to bring together". Now applaud me.

#28 The other side of Locking...

by spacecow <spacecow@mis.net>

Tuesday June 20th, 2000 10:44 PM

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Remember that if you lock your door or your files, you are locking the contents inside as well as locking the outside from getting in, such as when people lock prisoners or quarentine viruses. Locking is probably better interpretted as preventing free flow or general access. He (as far as I can tell) wants to lock his child into a certain site, ie restrict his access to that site.

#5 Too easy to bypass

by thelem

Sunday June 18th, 2000 3:02 AM

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Much as a tool like this is a good idea, I don't think mozilla is the place to implement it.

It is too easy to bypass (by just using another browser), what is needed is software which examines each packet as it goes down the line. It should not be possible to quit the software.

#6 Why am I not surprised?

by mpt <mpt@mailandnews.com>

Sunday June 18th, 2000 6:01 AM

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"... what is needed is software which examines each packet as it goes down the line".

Um, no. What is needed is wetware which examines each page as it comes up on the screen -- in the form of parents.

This is an interesting example of the extensibility of Mozilla, but it's not really worth anything more than that. The smaller a particular site is, the more boring it would be for a child to be confined within it. And the bigger a site is, the greater the chance that it will contain something which you think is `not for him'.

Letting your young child wander through the information superhighway by themselves is equivalent to letting them wander across a real highway by themselves. And technical `solutions' (such as this one) are never as good as the human ones.

The only effective solution to Doug's problem is to actually spend time with the child when he/she is on the Internet. And hey, if you do that, you might both learn something ...

-- mpt

#25 Raise your kids so you don't need this

by arnoudb <arnoudb@dds.nl>

Tuesday June 20th, 2000 10:00 AM

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Perhaps it would just be better if parents would raise their kids in such a way that such "protection"-software is not *needed*. Perhaps spending more time with your kids instead of letting them surf the internet would be a good idea? I mean, come on! Protection software doesn't solve anything, your kid will simply go over to one of his friends' house and read whatever you'll try to hide from him. And then you really have lost control of what he's doing out there.

#9 Implicit Age Check?

by Crutcher

Sunday June 18th, 2000 10:49 AM

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The way I see it, by the time a kid is old enough to get arround your "Protection" schemes, the kid is old enough to read the material that they find.

#11 great idea for some situations

by asa <asa@mozilla.org>

Sunday June 18th, 2000 1:25 PM

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I can see some situations where this would work really well. Suppose your 10 year old kid is doing a paper on dinosaurs for her 4th ot 5th grade class and you'd like to let her research the subject some without sitting over her shoulder. Maybe you've got to help your other kid with his piano lessons or something. So you sit down at the compter, log onto the discovery.com domain and click a button that locks the browser into that domain. This seems like a great solution to one of the problems of internet supervision. Sure, it's not _the_ answer, but is is _an_ answer and it seems pretty reasonable to me.

#21 Not so great idea

by gwalla <gwalla@despammed.com>

Monday June 19th, 2000 10:50 AM

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This would make research basically impossible, unless you trust discovery.com to have all of the info your kid needs for their paper.

A big part of research is finding good sources. This would make it impossible to search around.

It might be okay for when you need to leave briefly for some reason so they don't end up on a pr0n site while your back is turned, but not for any extended length of time.

#22 What ever happened to books.

by drwho9437

Monday June 19th, 2000 10:58 AM

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What ever happened to books. The web is not the best tool all the time. In this case a library IS. I'd say that about 70%-90% of the information on the net is redundant. And only about 20% is indexed. The internet is not the source of all knowledge. 10 years ago people got along fine without it but now seem to think that it is the only way to find information give me a break. Hopefully it will die down. Bottom line the sure the internet is useful but really it is only superior to a library when the information is constantly changing like with computers and inventory, not for a subject that doesn't change a lot every month like dinosaurs.

#13 The nature of the internet

by drwho9437

Sunday June 18th, 2000 2:49 PM

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The one rule of the internet is that it CAN'T be controlled. You can't stop things like Napster and you can't top what people look at online. Not with software at least. The kids could just install another browser. So the only software solution would to build it right into the OS but I would hate the feeling that Microsoft or any other company for that matter could find out what I or my kids where looking at just look at the whole real player thing. I mean it is just a bad idea. Bottom line the internet is the real world in a mirror don't let your kids into it until they are ready to be in the world or you can trust them not to do "bad" things online.

#16 Re: The nature of the internet

by Hendy99 <gbhendy1@bigpond.net.au>

Sunday June 18th, 2000 5:03 PM

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Most *kids* wouldn't install another browser, not until they hit teenage years at least...........

#20 Re: Re: The nature of the internet

by drwho9437

Monday June 19th, 2000 10:42 AM

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Your correct right now but the solution for little kids will not work in 10 years I'd say. By that time even little kid I expect will know how to operate a computer better thatn they 40 or 50 (by that time) counterparts. If they want it they will find a way.

#14 Here is how you do it...

by phitaly <linuxman@inficad.com>

Sunday June 18th, 2000 3:05 PM

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Obviously, the people that responded above did not understant what you are trying to do... You wan't to allow access to ONLY CERTAIN (pre-determined by yourself) sites and block the rest. We have something like that in our classroom environment. When a user goes to linux.com or freebsd.org and other Unix/Linux sites ... it will let them through based on address. If they go to something else, or go through a search engine and click on a disallowed site ... they get re-directed to our school home page instead.

The only way for the kid to get around that is to break the firewall. Your kid is not in the business of breaking firewalls ... is he?

#15 Here is how you do it...

by phitaly <linuxman@inficad.com>

Sunday June 18th, 2000 4:33 PM

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Obviously, the people that responded above did not understant what you are trying to do... You wan't to allow access to ONLY CERTAIN (pre-determined by yourself) sites and block the rest. We have something like that in our classroom environment. When a user goes to linux.com or freebsd.org and other Unix/Linux sites ... it will let them through based on address. If they go to something else, or go through a search engine and click on a disallowed site ... they get re-directed to our school home page instead.

The only way for the kid to get around that is to break the firewall. Your kid is not in the business of breaking firewalls ... is he?

#18 Read this article.

by leafdigital

Monday June 19th, 2000 8:07 AM

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<http://www.examiner.com/skink/skinkDec14.html>

This article (written in 1997 by Rebecca Eisenberg, probably the best journalist on the net) mostly applies to the available "net nanny"-style software, which is obviously far more foul, more evil, and more bigoted than this proposal.

However, some of the points it raises (about the inaccurate use of the word "protection", for instance) are still very valid.

(However, if we're talking about 6-year old children or whatever, I don't object as strongly to such censorship and parental control, so there is kind of a legitimate use for it.)

--sam

#19 Ridiculous

by orev

Monday June 19th, 2000 9:25 AM

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Chill out people, this is just one simple tool that works very well for the purposes it was written for. No, it's not going to solve all the problems that blocking and filtering software bring up, but if you want your kid to only go to Disney.com, it works fine.

Christ, give him a break. I personally think it's very cool, shows what you can do with Mozilla, and it solves a problem that one person had. Isn't sharing those solutions with everyone else the whole point of OSS?

#24 Re: Ridiculous

by Kfir <kfir.shay@cornell.edu>

Monday June 19th, 2000 3:57 PM

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I agree, I think this was a very creative, little add-on nice work !

#26 I've Asked Mr. Turner

by Crutcher

Tuesday June 20th, 2000 12:15 PM

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I emailed Mr. Turner, and he clarified. When the button is pushed, it does prevents the browser from leaving the current site untill the browser is unlocked.

#29 Why wouldn't the kid just us IE to bypass?

by IndpdntMind

Thursday June 22nd, 2000 12:39 AM

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The kid could still use IE to bypass the lock. Netscape Navigator isn't the only browser installed on most computers. Two locks are needed unless IE and all other browsers are uninstalled. He needs to lock Mozilla in as the only browser that can be used to access the internet.

#30 Get a life already...

by Ugg

Tuesday June 27th, 2000 11:26 AM

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Crutcher and Tanyel, the meaning of "lock" as used was perfectly clear. I understood it and so did most of the other people posting here, evidently.

So instead of wasting bandwidth on lame semantic arguments meant to prove that you're right and the author is wrong, why don't you just shut up and stop removing doubt?

-Ugg, who has little patience for people who can't see the forest for the semantics.

#31 We are working on a nice solution WebLock

by PianoDoc

Wednesday April 17th, 2002 5:13 AM

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well, our upcoming solution maybe just right: blocks the browser entirely, no search function any more, just one URL possible (of course links away from that URL, too). So depending on the URL you allow surfing is much limited. please send requests for release information (soon) to: <WebLock@onlinehome.de> thanks!