Student blocked from Internet usage


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Posted Wednesday, February 2, 2011 - 7:06pm

The Internet has become an ever-increasing part of a person’s daily life. So what happens when you get blocked from it, for doing something completely legal?

Mariel Shreve, USU-CEU student, discovered how inconvenient it is to not be able to use the school’s internet on Sunday, Jan. 23, when she was blocked from its usage for 24 hours.

What would have to happen to get blocked from complete internet usage? Shreve said she was doing homework Sunday night and wanted to download an audio book from the Salt Lake County Library System. Shreve said, “I’ve downloaded one [of their books] before and there was no problem.”

Her file downloaded without a problem however, when she went to get back online, she was stopped with a popup saying she, was being blocked because of piracy and was violating the usage policy by downloading illegal content.

Eric Mantz, associate vice chancellor for information technology & CIO, said, “This was a result of a non-compliance issue, using a bit-torrent type of file sharing or peer-to-peer (P2P) program or something else.”

Shreve had planned on Skyping, or video messaging, with her brother, and possibly her sister, later that night and was unable to do so, due to her account being blocked. “It was really frustrating for being stopped from communicating with my family,” she said. Shreve’s brother lives in Oregon and her sister lives in Alaska, making Skype their primary form of communication.

The site she used was and was downloading a Sherlock Holmes book. “I thought it was a completely reliable site,” she said.

Mantz said, “It is also readily apparent that many students do not know that some of the programs they have loaded are P2P.”

Shreve’s brother, Asa Shreve, posted on Facebook, “Wishing College of Eastern Utah – Golden Eagles – CEU didn’t ban my sister from the internet overnight. You’re ridiculous,” and continued with a comment of, “We could have been Skyping right now.”

Along the post’s feed, Troy Hunt, a communication instructor at USU-CEU posted and said, “It’s a direct result of the new overlords of IT in Logan...I have had similar problems. Had a shouting match with one of them.”

Mantz said, “The system we use . . . did have some software problems and it is true that some students have been blocked because of the P2P programs they were using, not because they violated copyrights. The system has been since updated to better software and will not flag general P2P use, with the exception of evasive P2P programs.”

“There are people in this school who are getting away with things worse than this all the time . . . I just think that USU should be keeping a better watch on people who are actually doing something wrong, “ Shreve said.

Shreve has withdrawn from classes at USU-CEU and will be returning to West Valley to work and save up money. She is not leaving because of this incident.

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