Arizona State University unblocks Change.org after outcry

By Eric W. Dolan
Sunday, February 5, 2012 10:53 EDT
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Arizona State University announced Saturday that it would no longer block the popular online petition website Change.org after receiving a flood of complaints from students and others.

“The university acknowledges and understands the expression of concern from some members of the community who desire access to change.org from university computing resources,” said a statement from the school. “The university has removed the restriction against site access from university computing resources.”

The university blocked the site in December for allegedly sending out unsolicited spam emails, according to the university newspaper State Press.

“ASU began blocking messages from the Change.org server in December after it was discovered as the source of such a spamming action,” ASU spokeswoman Julie Newberg said.

“Although the individual who sent the email may not consider himself a spammer, he acquired a significant number of ASU email addresses which he used to send unsolicited, unwanted email.”

After news that Change.org was blocked began circulating on social media outlets, the group Free Press set up a petition on Friday urging the university to allow students to access the petition site.

“The university needs to stop indiscriminately blocking sites and to find ways to differentiate spam from legitimate and lawful sites,” said Free Press Internet Campaign Director Josh Levy. “This kind of problem likely isn’t limited to ASU. As Internet censorship becomes a growing problem in the United States and abroad, America’s educational institutions should be setting an example by defending the open Internet and the First Amendment.”

Locked Internet image via Shutterstock.com

Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
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