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London Grid for Learning Blocks Pirate Websites for 3000 Schools

Friday, February 22nd, 2019 (11:10 am) - Score 1,002
banned and forbidden uk internet censorship

The London Grid for Learning (LGfL), which among other things supplies broadband connectivity to around 3,000 schools (c.1 million children) in the UK’s capital city, claims to have become the first educational technology company and ISP to work with City of London Police (CLP) in order to block known piracy websites.

Most schools already use strict internet content filters to prevent abuse of their network, as well as to help focus children on using the internet for educational purposes. However this appears to mark the first time that such an organisation has formally worked with the CLP to block all websites on the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit‘s (PIPCU) Infringing Website List (IWL).

At present most of the country’s major home broadband ISPs (BT, Sky Broadband, Virgin Media, TalkTalk etc.) only block access to copyright infringing sites once in receipt of a court order to do so, but they’re public providers while the LGfL is a not-for-profit organisation with a specific focus on only providing connectivity and educational technology to schools in London.

Naturally schools, not unlike public WiFi hotspots and other such networks, have become increasingly concerned about the possibility of any future legal repercussions that may occur from allowing children to access or distribute content that breaks copyright.

Mark Bentley, LGfL’s DigiSafe Team, said (UKAuthority):

“LGfL DigiSafe is committed to partnering with relevant stakeholders in order to achieve our mission of saving schools money and keeping children safe.

By working with City of London police to block its List of Infringing Websites to our community of over 2 million students we not only prevent children accessing inappropriate material, but also provide reassurance to senior leaders that this illegal activity cannot be committed on the school site, meaning headteachers do not need to fear liability for copyright infringements.”

Apparently the operation began last month and a “regularly updated” blacklist of websites is now being provided to the LGfL, although they still need to develop an API in order to automate such updates.

Meanwhile the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) are already in the process of considering whether or not they can setup a new “administrative site blocking” process, which would replace the current system of court orders for major ISPs (here).

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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4 Responses
  1. Avatar Mike

    Isn’t most of this stuff is already blocked locally by schools any ways?

    • Avatar Alex Haines

      From experience no, most firewalling and blocking is performed by the network provider which tends to be local authority ran.

      Such as in this case the LGfL is actually a big LAN between all schools and probably runs back to JANET for connectivity.

      Again, from experience, you get the JANET backbone into local council building, then high speed fibre into high schools, then fibre from high to middle and then copper/ethernet from there to primaries. Any change requests would go to county for approval.

      I’ve been out of schools for 4 years but that’s a simplified view of how it worked.

    • Avatar Meadmodj

      Depends on who provides the IT support. LGfL provides services rimarily to those Schools still under Local Authority control but others who wish to subscribe. One of their offerings is WebScreen™ 2.0 which can allow filtering at different levels including the School. It is up to the School whether they take the service, just use the defaults or add inhibited sites themselves.

      Use of this Infringing Website List is not to protect the children but the School from potential legal action if a pupil down loads content for any reason.

  2. Avatar Kimberley

    Lgfl also block all sites considered forums or chat sites. Makes it very hard for us as teachers to share ideas, resources and good practice.

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