Information for Social Change (2021-03-01)

Potential Access Issues for Remotely-Based Students - Challenges for Connectivity and Online Resources in context to Covid-19

  • Dr Paul Catherall

Journal volume & issue
no. 39
pp. 64 – 70


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Remotely-based Library service users - principally comprising students, but also other types of user, such as post-graduate researchers, PhD students and staff members - will typically rely on personal computer equipment and network infrastructure. ‘Internet Control’ refers to measures imposed on Internet infrastructure for restriction/ blocking, filtering (selective access) or surveillance. This can occur at a national, organisational or Internet provider (ISP) level (or may impact nearby regions/countries). Internet Control is often not well attested by governments or telecommunications organisations and is poorly researched in industry or scholarly literature. Typical Internet technologies (such as SSL for secure network traffic) can be obstructed - disabling or otherwise impacting access to learning or Library systems. Wide-scale Internet Control can have a serious impact on the integrity, speed or security of network traffic, often due to channelling of traffic via a central point for surveillance and filtering purposes. This report is drawn from a University of Liverpool Learning and Teaching Conference presentation ‘Providing Library support and teaching for online international students in the context of Internet Control, censorship and surveillance’ (04/07/19), a Northern Collaboration presentation (06/09/19) and an article: ‘Internet Control in World Regions for Information and Education’, Information for Social Change, No. 38, June 2019.