Internet Blocking in Public Schools

A Study on Internet Access in Educational Institutions


The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Online Policy Group (OPG) have cooperated to study and analyze the accessibility on the web of information related to state-mandated curriculum topics within public schools that operate Internet blocking software. This study measures the extent to which blocking software impedes the educational process by restricting access to web pages relevant to the required curriculum.

Download Complete Report (version 1.1 - PDF 5.9MB)

Table of Contents

  1. Abstract (PDF)
    1. OPG & EFF study the effectiveness of Internet blocking software
    2. Implications for censorship and civil liberties issues
    3. Summary of study results
  2. Preface (PDF)
    1. Need for study
    2. Children's Internet Protection Act
    3. Related litigation and legal definitions
    4. Impact on schools
  3. Methodology (PDF)
    1. Determine study parameters (curriculum, search engine, internet blocking software)
    2. Extract topics from state-mandated curriculums into database
    3. Generate search strings
    4. Generate web page lists
    5. Test web pages against Internet blocking software
    6. Verify blocking and software coding
    7. Compare and analyze results
  4. Considerations (PDF)
    1. Curriculum considerations
    2. Search engine considerations
    3. Blocking software considerations
    4. Rating system considerations
    5. Legal considerations
    6. Attempted Correspondence
  5. Results (PDF)
    1. Overblocking
    2. Underblocking
    3. Overall blocking rates
    4. Blocking by category or topic
    5. Blocking by state
    6. Blocking by grade
    7. Blocking by product
    8. Bad address and unreachable statistics
  6. Analysis (PDF)
    1. Effects on students
    2. Effects on teachers
    3. Impact on legal proceedings
  7. Conclusions (PDF)
  8. Appendix A: Sample Research Database (PDF)
  9. Appendix B: Blocking Software Company and Internet Rating Association Publications (PDF)
  10. Appendix C: School District Internet Use Standards (PDF)
  11. Appendix D: Inappropriate Blocking Examples (PDF)
  12. Appendix E: Blocking Software Company Responses to Study (PDF)
  13. Bibliography (PDF)
  14. Acknowledgments (PDF)

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