In 2018 the Utah State Legislature passed a new bill, SB0134 – ‘Materials Harmful to Minors’. This bill mandates that we, as your Internet Service Provider, notify you of filtering options which are available for you to filter content that may be deemed inappropriate for minors, and requires us to make recommendations. There are many options available for filtering content. Some of these options require a hardware device, and some use software on your router or on each individual computer or wireless device in your home. There are commercially available hardware options such as the Disney Circle router, or Netgear has parental controls built-in to their ‘Genie’ router hardware and software. You may find more information on these solutions from the manufacturer’s website.
Many people will filter at the router level using one of these types of hardware solutions, or by using special DNS servers so that they do not have to monitor every device in the home individually. Many of these options will require a static public IP be added to your account in order to work correctly. Contact us for information on provisioning a public IP to your account. There is an additional monthly charge required for a static IP address. Whether you want to keep your kids’ eyes away from inappropriate content or your employees from wasting time online, you’ll find that there are a variety of great tools available for filtering internet access.
The following recommendations (originally posted on www.lifehacker.com) range in difficultly of installation, from as simple as requiring five minutes to install, to as complex as setting up a physical computer as a Linux-based content filter. Which method you choose depends on how comfortable you are with the various technologies employed. Many customers simply install software like K9 on each device. The choice to filter content and which content to filter lies with you, the consumer. Blue Spring Broadband is not affiliated with any of the companies or websites suggested here, and we cannot be held liable for any content which the following solutions do or do not filter while using our services. We are only recommending these options to you because of a legal requirement to do so, under the threat of penalties and fines for our company if we do not:
OpenDNS (Cross Platform, Free)
This seems like the most common solution that we see most customers using. OpenDNS is a perfect solution for people who either lack the time or expertise to set up and administer a full-out content-filtering server. OpenDNS replaces your current DNS server and allows you to filter every connection coming out of your house if you change the DNS settings at the router level. No matter if someone is on your main desktop or connecting into your wireless via laptop, everything will be filtered by OpenDNS. You can set custom filters to white list and black list specific sites and customize the range of filters they provide for you. If you’re considering using OpenDNS as your household filter, you may want to check out this article on How-To-Geek for more detailed information. This option requires a static public IP address be provisioned to your account. Contact us for more information on adding a public IP.
K9 (Windows/Mac, Free)
Many of us have had experiences with K9’s internet filtering, if for no other reason than it’s used in thousands of schools across the country. One of K9’s strong points is the division of filtered content into 60+ categories which allows you to easily block and unblock large chunks of their blacklist without having to get your hands too dirty. K9 is a desktop software solution; you install the software and it checks all the internet requests you make against the filters you have specified. In an effort to overcome the limitations of working from a static database, K9 introduced Dynamic Real-Time Rating to actively access the content of websites and ban them if they fall into the filter categories you’ve selected.
DansGuardian (Cross Platform, Free)
One way to measure whether or not Dansguardian is the right filtering tool for you is your willingness to install and tinker with an operating system like Linux. Dansguardian runs on Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, Mac OS X, HP-UX, and Solaris. So this solution would be a great choice for our more technically-savvy users, who are comfortable with using the Linux Operating System. DansGuardian is extremely configurable and allows you to do all sorts of things, like block all images, filter ads out across your entire home network, block files from being downloaded by extension type, and control the effects of the filters, whitelists, and more based on which computer on your network is doing the accessing. You can deploy different filters for different computers based on domain, user, and source IP so your high school student doesn’t get the same ultra-filtered content your elementary student does. DansGuardian needs to be paired with a proxy as it doesn’t serve the web pages itself but only acts as a filter—many users use Squid, also mentioned in the entry for SquidGuard.
SquidGuard/Squid (Linux, Free)
SquidGuard is similar to Dansguard in that it is a stand-alone filtering tool you connect into with a proxy—in this case the popular Squid proxy. Also, like Dansguard, you have a high degree of flexibility—dream up a combination of filtering parameters and there’s a good chance you can make it happen with SquidGuard. Do you want to block a specific program between the hours of 9AM and 10PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays? Not a problem with the highly customizable SquidGuard. SquidGuard is natively a UNIX-environment only tool, and you can install it onto Linux, FreeBSD, and so forth.