I’m sorry. I can’t do that, Dave. [edited & disclaimed]

You may have known that it is impossible to access YouTube at the BYU (a tragic loss brought home every time Bro. Evans tries to send me a link to some offensive video).

But did you know that the following is on the custom block list for BYU:

A Google search for the terms “temple endowment”

Please discuss.

It appears that I was mistaken as several other people had no problem. This is not my first screw up in pointing out oddities at BYU. This post appears to have mistaken a computer glitch for a campus-wide policy. Please continue to go about your business.


  1. Are you sure? I’m on a BYU campus computer right now and performed the search just fine.

  2. justkelly says:

    That is sad.

    But I’m not suprised.

  3. Look out, Liz Busby! The BYU Oppression team will have already triangulated your position! The black helicopter is probably already hovering overhead.

    I did a lot of research on a lot of topics from the BYU library; it could have changed since last year, but I only rarely ran into the “content prohibited” screen.

  4. I’m on my BYU computer right now, looking at BCC instead of grading essays. I just did a google search, putting “Temple Endowment” in quotes. No problem. Lots of site (including Temple Endowment home page) came up. Did you add anything like “Anti-Mormon statements about”?

  5. When I was at BYU all sorts of sites were inexplicably blocked and I am convinced that there is nothing nefarious behind it. It is hard to put good filters in place so invariably good sites are blocked and bad sites get through.

  6. I think we’re seeing that John C.’s computer has special monitoring, for good reason.

  7. John C.– Type “Provo Girl” and see if it works.

  8. I also have it on good authority that BYU monitors, or in the past has monitored, voicemail messages. Seriously.

    Which reminds me of the time Sumer got me in hot water with the Honor Code over a prank VM I left once.

  9. As someone familiar with content blocking, spam filters, and intrusion detection/prevention software, there will always be false positives, and false negatives, ie sometimes something will be blocked that shouldn’t, and some things not get blocked that should.

    I can’t speak to any nefarious purposes on the part of BYU IT admins, unlike other admins I have acquaintance with, but I’ve always leaned towards the “trust but verify” school of thought. Obviously, blocking Youtube would not be high on my list.

    Steve does raise an interesting possibility, though, as you can specify different rules for different groups of people if your software is of sufficient sophistication. Students might have different restrictions than faculty members, and accountants different restrictions than law school faculty. You can also restrict or ban individual users in some cases. But you get what you pay for, or perhaps in this case, what you didn’t pay for.

  10. Are they blocking youtube due to bandwidth issues or content issues?

    (I can’t believe I may have just said something to defend that school . . .)

  11. are you sure you didn’t spell it wrong John? I know BYU can’t tolerate bad spellers.

  12. peetie, ostensibly both, but it’s really content.

  13. I’ve had some random google searches get blocked by the BYU filters recently. But when I went back and tried them again in a minute or two, they worked fine. I think this is more of a technical glitch than censoring. However I have had to click on a “Yes I’m sure this website is OK” button sometimes when I go to a site they must have on a questionable-but-not-blocked list. For example, when looking for some computer programming syntax, BYU required confirmation before I could access delorie.com after it came up in a google search. If only they could just teach correct principles and let us govern ourselves…

  14. If you can’t access YouTube then at least you are less likely to fall victim to a rickroll.

  15. There are codes we can use to access you tube. My husband has a code but has refused to give it to me. He knows I’ll just be watching the “Yes We Can” You Tube.

    Amri, bad spelling is a real problem. We didn’t report bad spellers to the Standards Office until quite recently. I didn’t understand the rightness of the policy at first, but I now realize that a bad speller has to misspell INTENTIONALLY, because computer programs will automatically correct a misspelling. Therefore, bad spellers are displaying willful and rebellious attitudes. I had to turn in a student during Honor Code weak. (It was the only way I could reach my quota.)

  16. re # 9, even if “temple endowment” really were blocked at BYU (from the comments it looks like it isn’t), would that actually be nefarious?

    As to blocking YouTube, it is silly if the objection is content but what if the objection is bandwidth?

  17. As far as I can tell, Oxford University blocks nothing.

  18. re # 13, If only they could just teach correct principles and let us govern ourselves…

    I’m all for teaching correct principles and governing ourselves but should BYU really be criticized for attempting to block access to porn sites from its computers? I don’t see how the attempt to do so violates The Principle.

  19. re # 17, things might have changed since I was there but I seem to recall signing what could only be considered “standards” guidelines as a condition precedent to being able to use the University computer system at all. It’s not the same as blocking but it shows that a perfectly legitimate university also doesn’t want its computers to be used to access bad content.

  20. as far as you can tell, Ronan? what kinds of things are you googling to test this hypothesis?

  21. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a momentary glitch. I have occasionally run into such. I just found it interesting.

    You will recall that I also called a false start on “Rough Stone Rolling” a year or so ago. You people really should check up on me.

    Regarding YouTube, I have been told that it is an issue almost entirely of bandwidth. I was told that, at its height, YouTube was sucking up a very high percentage of bandwidth (i remember it as something over 50%, but we all know we can’t trust me).

  22. Borough of Manhattan Community College blocks nothing.

  23. re # 15:

    I had to turn in a student during Honor Code weak.

    I absolutely loved the spelling of “weak” here. Very, very funny.

  24. That search term is not blocked on BYU’s network.

  25. re # 22, that community college is a state facility where free speech laws apply so even if it is undesirable to have the person at the computer next to you looking at pornography, the institution can’t address it.

  26. Please note, I appear to be entirely in the wrong with my initial supposition. I don’t want to remove the post though, so bask for a time in my silliness.