Air Canada Blocks Access To Any Google Hosted RSS Feed (Including Techdirt) For No Good Reason

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.

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Companies: air canada, datavalet

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Comments on “Air Canada Blocks Access To Any Google Hosted RSS Feed (Including Techdirt) For No Good Reason”

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Anonymous Coward says:

this is being done because it can be! governments have begun implementing website blocking, so how can it be denied when a company wants to do it? the UK was one of the first, if not the first, to implement blocks, using the ‘protect the children’ excuse, when what it was really doing was whatever it could to help the entertainment industries, mostly in the USA, rather than get those industries to start giving customers what they asked for and to help, not hinder, technological progress which is aided by the internet. instead of doing this, the UK government and others since have done what was demanded by the industries. that slippery slope wont be easy to get off now and it wont be long before the blocks come into play in the upcoming General Election there! Cameron is going to pull any and all dirty trick he can think of, not to get the country back up and running but to get the NHS and the benefit system completely demolished!!

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Are you sure that you have this the right way around?

So far as I can see the active name is Feedburner, not Feedproxy.

Yes. The service is still called Feedburner, but all of the RSS feeds show up under the URL…

connermac725 (profile) says:

I have had that happen

when I worked for one company I had to argue that the IT dept was blocking me from sites that were needed to do my job.
the rogue website was for Netscape navigator downloads which back in the day was what we recommended they use.
I had to explain how I could not help them if I could not see the website to find the download (they changed it like every six months)
in the end I won out but for 6 weeks I had to tell people sorry cannot help you

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