iBoss SSL Certificate sweeps mobile devices

The+iBoss+content+filter+has+the+authority+to+block+any+websites+it+deems+inappropriate.+No+website+is+safe+from+restriction%2C+not+even+the+one+you%27re+reading+right+now.

Cole Northenor

The iBoss content filter has the authority to block any websites it deems inappropriate. No website is safe from restriction, not even the one you're reading right now.

Natalia Mora, Memorial Staff Writer

With the Edmond Public Schools (EPS) implementation of the 1:1 Chromebook initiative launched for the 2017-18 school year came a fresh and innovative content filtering system powered by iBoss, a Distributive Gateway Program.

It uses a strict filtering system, along with functions to block inappropriate websites and to regularly report unruly behavior to the administration via its encrypted servers. Seasoned or infrequent users alike, however, might have been shocked at the abrupt coverage change as iBoss rolls out into the second half of the school year and widens its prospects to administer beyond school-issued chromebooks alone.

Shortly before Jan. 31, notifications sprung up on students’ personal devices prompting them to authorize the installment of an iBoss Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate. The message urged peers using EdmondPS Wireless to download the certificate before wifi services were encrypted from public access (without the SSL certificate).

The mobile coverage is intended to increase the district’s ability to monitor what students can view and access through any digital platform from research to social media on cell phones. The iBoss technology also supports a tiered access system, offering more free reign to high school students conducting research than to elementary students who don’t need to search items of that caliber.

“EPS continually enhances network security, monitoring, and internet content filtering to meet the ever changing needs of our students,” EPS Director of Technology Rich Anderson said.  “Our goal is to provide students with the maximum level of access to the instructional resources they need, while keeping them safe from inappropriate content.”

When students take Chromebooks home, EPS is expected to protect students from inappropriate content. However, unlike numerous allegations claim, iBoss does not authorize access to personal content on cell phones at all, nor internet traffic and activity when disconnected on the wifi; it is simply intended to facilitate a content filter for security purposes when actively in use.

“A lot of people think the district is spying on them somehow, but that’s not the case,” Memorial head tech Matt Robinson said. “For instance, if you go to a coffee shop like Starbucks or Evoke, you have to log in and agree to their terms and services before you can even access the internet; that’s very similar to what we’re doing here, making it safer for everyone involved.”

It is also claimed that the mobile filter is intended to alleviate students from legal trouble through the school and to eliminate distractions in the school environment, including sites like Netflix, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram. The iBoss filter can also detect inappropriate keywords in real time and notify the principals of suspicious internet activity immediately.

Some teachers are frustrated with the filter’s inability to access some educational content and view iBoss as more of an educational hindrance rather than an enablement. Often, teachers steer lesson plans around the variable that iBoss won’t allow access to their teaching material.

“I always have to think, ‘can my students see this from their chromebooks? Wait, probably not,’” sophomore English teacher Beth Lewis said. “Then, I’ll have to develop a different plan.”

Amidst the filter’s controversial responses, it should be considered that the iBoss filter has yet to adjust into EPS’s framework of comfort.

 

Contact Natalia Mora at [email protected]