SonicWALL - Web Site Blocked

After a 5 hour bus ride from Cork to Dublin I check into the Comfort Inn in Dublin, where I booked the room because they were advertising “Free Broadband Internet” to find they are running content filters and blocking half the web. Including my own blog. Of course that’s easily skirtable with any number of anonymizers but it’s still annoying as hell. I was running out again quickly to try and hook up with some Dublin bloggers (who I was too late to catch up with) so I swing by the reception desk downstairs and mention it to the attendant there and also the manager who happens to be standing there as well.

The manager said “Are you trying to get to one of those gambling sites like facebook or beebo? Because we’re blocking those on purpose.” I explain that not only am I not trying to get to any gambling sites, but rather my own personal site, but that I was easily able to get to Facebook, which isn’t a gambling site. She responds telling me that shouldn’t be the case because they have a firewall in place to “stop all of that kind of thing inside the hotel.” I ask her basically what bejezus she’s talking about because it’s a damn hotel and what could should be worried about? She tells me that in order for them to protect their internal computer systems and all their customers data they have to make sure people aren’t going to the wrong kinds of websites in the rooms. I tell her that makes no sense at all but regardless I can assure her that there is nothing on that will steal all the info of her clients and I need to get into it hassle free.

She tells me there is no way to only allow one site for one room, if they open it up for me they open it up for everyone. I tell her it’s already open for everyone because they are paying for a bullshit URL filter that is easily beat with a proxy and that they are just wasting money on a service that does nothing but annoy her customer. She assures me it is protecting them and works great. I point out it’s working too great because it’s blocking things like my own personal site. She tells me if she had it her way it would block everything. Oh. Well there’s that then isn’t it.

She asks how big a problem it is that I can’t get to my site. I say it’s really big. She says she’ll see what they can do and worst case will move me to a new hotel and to check back with her in an hour. I check back and she’s not around but the other guy who was there for the whole time says it should be working fine now. Which it is. I can’t wait to see society as we know it come to a screeching halt because residents of the Comfort Inn in Dublin can now access unrestricted!