from the you-had-one-job... dept
Friend (and frequent Techdirt contributor) Derek Kerton passed along a screenshot of his own recent experience trying to follow a Techdirt link at the Toronto airport and having it blocked:
The block here is clearly not directed at Techdirt, but rather at Google’s Feedproxy service — which was formerly Feedburner, a company Google bought years ago. Many, many, many sites that have RSS feeds use Google’s service as it makes it much easier to manage your RSS feed and to do some basic analytics on it.
In this case, it appears that Air Canada has (for reasons unknown) wasted good money on a company called “Datavalet” which offers “Guest Access Management” for companies who offer WiFi access to customers. Datavalet proudly highlights Air Canada and famed Canadian donut chain Tim Hortons among its customers.
And yet, despite its sole business apparently being building systems to let people access the internet, Datavalet’s tech geniuses can’t figure out that Google’s RSS feed service is not, in fact, an “Anonymizer” but merely a system for hosting RSS feeds.
These sorts of stupid false positives are not at all uncommon in the filtering business — and Datavalet is not alone in stupidly filtering out and blocking access to things it should totally allow. This story just demonstrates, once again, the ultimate stupidity and futility of trying to block internet access. No matter how well-meaning you might be, you’re going to do it wrong and you’re going to block plenty of legitimate content, including (in this case) tons of well known news publishers who rely on Google’s feedproxy service to serve up links to RSS readers, Twitter, Facebook and more.