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Mail-Gear seen as a schools solution for blocking un

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Date:          Mon, 18 Jan 1999 20:06:43 GMT0BST
From:          "Yaman Akdeniz" <>
Subject:       Mail-Gear seen as a schools solution for blocking undesirable e-

Wednesday, January 13, 1999 Published at 22:47 GMT 

Schools for scanned mail 

Mail-Gear seen as a schools solution for blocking undesirable e-mail

By Internet Correspondent Chris Nuttall Schools, worried about what
their pupils might get up to online, now have a new means of
controlling Internet activities. 

The company whose filtering software automatically blocked
schoolchildren's access to the Starr Report last year for its
explicit sexual content has come up with a version for e-mail. 

Mail-Gear was launched in the UK on the opening day of the BETT
technology and education show by the Virginian company URLabs and its
British partner ICL. It has been available in the US for six months
and already has 750,000 users. 

Bolton school pilots program

The first British school to try it out is the Hayward School in
Bolton. Its Head, John Heaton, says Mail-Gear is the best package of
its kind and feels its use could spread across the country. 

"What it will do is work very much with staff and pupils in handling
any inappropriate material that may come into the school or may be
passed between staff and pupils, pupils to pupils, it will actually
filter out and prevent e-mails being sent." 

The product is not simple spam-filtering software but a full-blown
mail server with levels of access carefully controlled and monitored.

Applications could include preventing pupils from cheating at online
exams by e-mailing answers to one another, blocking the passing on of
pornographic material and the sending of anonymous messages. 

Dan Sydow of URLabs says it can also screen spam and stalkers' e-mail
and prevent it reaching children. "It can be redirected internally to
an administrator or in some cases we're actually looking at
redirecting it to law enforcement agencies." 

With the government planning to wire up all schools to the Internet,
every pupil should soon have an e-mail address. Sydow says those
trying to circumvent the school filtering system with browser-based
accounts such as Hotmail could be blocked by the companion product
I-Gear, which filters Web content. 

One of the last refuges for now would be Chat areas, although URLabs
says Chat-Gear is already in the pipeline.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Yaman Akdeniz
<> Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) at:

Read the new CR&CL (UK) Report, Who Watches the Watchmen, Part:II
Accountability & Effective Self-Regulation in the Information Age,
August 1998 at