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I’m sitting at a coffee place in Los Angeles (The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, 10401 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025). Like most coffee places they offer free WiFi, which I’m using. I was shocked to see that TTAG is blocked by their web filter! See the attached screenshot for allegedly violating their policy around “Weapons (sales)”. Not sure how you can get unblocked, or whether there is a way to call attention to the censorship taking place in the wonderful “free” State of California. I was shocked I couldn’t load some of my favorite [firearms] sites.


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    • Hey guys go easy with the Tech jargon, there could be new people, ya know?

      Virtual Private Network (VPN) creates a secure tunnel if you will, through the ocean / internet to another computer that is also connected to the ocean / Internet. And that computer you have connected to through that tunnel under the ocean, has unrestricted access to the ocean which by-passes any filtering mechanism that maybe between your computer > coffee shop access to the ocean, the WiFi > filter > ocean.

      Pretty much the best analogy I can come up with right now, but I hope some get the point. There are plenty of “Open Source” / free solutions you can use. i.e. Install a Linux distribution at your home and configure VPN.

      How it works is; from coffee shop you connect your computer through a encrypted connection (tunnel) through the Internet to your home computer, which has unfiltered access to everything on the Internet, which forwards the to you through that encrypted so no one else (except the NSA) can see / filter / censorship the information being requested by you via your laptop.

      • Perhaps you should explain how they figure out there ip address of there home computer since most services use dhcp. Perhaps they use some dns service to always have access. Perhaps they get a static ip from there service provider for a fee of course. With that said I am not aware of any vpn services you can connect to in this manner that are free. If you are aware of any specific please let me know. The other issue is you could use a proxy service howerver if they are blocking guns on there firewall they are probably blocking most key words that have to do with a proxy service. Also keep in mind most services are subscription services that download updates to a firewall weekly. I have also found that guns is a typical category that is blocked by default.

        • Openvpn is built in on new versions of the open source ddwrt router firmware. Flash your router to install ddwrt, which is waaay better than the OEM garbage on the dlink and netgear home routers people buy, enable the vpn server, install client software on PC, look on router for the drawn outside ip, then bam, you have a tunnel. As for dhcp, the leases from ISPs constantly renew the same address. You’ll draw a different one if you constantly unplug your modem from the network beyond the lease period, but I don’t know why anyone would do that…

        • my router has a feature where the IP assigned to it saved on a name server at ASUS (manufacturer). I can access my home network over VPN by name, regardless of how often the ISP changes my IP address.

      • I hardly think people are going to install Linux and a VPN to get around a web filter. The solution is obvious. Go to a coffee shop where the owners aren’t a**holes.

  1. Happens at me at my community center. So what, it is free WIFI and not yours. Don’t like it, use data or go somewhere else and do not support them.

    • Take it easy Shawn. I don’t think he’s calling for a revolution. I think it’s important to know where companies and organizations stand whether it be directly or indirectly.

    • What needs to also be realized is a lot of firewalls rely on a subscription that is updated weekly that the customer has little control over unless they know how to change the default configuration settings. And like they say as far as something being free. You get what you pay for. I agree if you don’t like it go elsewhere.

      • Exactly. If a site we don’t want blocked is blocked at work, I wouldn’t know it unless someone told me or I tried to visit it myself. And then I’d have to call our (outsourced) IT department and put in a fix order. Then they’d go to whoever runs the actual firewall to have the site removed from the block list.

        Also, keep in mind lots of sites that are totally legitmate get blocked like that due to god knows what reasons; not just gun sites but things like webcomics, personal blogs that aren’t pornographic, etc.

  2. That would be the store owner blocking stuff from their WiFi.

    Might speak to the owner, the WiFi can be configured.

    Absent that, get a VPN account (which you should be using at coffee shop WiFi’s anyway).

  3. I’d make sure to tell management that you wouldn’t be frequenting their establishment until that’s fixed.

  4. Dude, it’s Santa Monica.

    Since you’re from RI and haven’t done much time in CA, lemme fill you in.

    The supercilious twits in Santa Monica are about the same as they are in Berzerkely, only prettier and smell a little less like patchouli oil and clove cigarettes.

  5. Solution:

    1) Open ‘Start Page’ search engine
    2) Enter ‘TTAG’ in search field and hit return
    3) Go to first search result and click on ‘View by Ixquick Proxy’
    4) Enjoy

  6. Irony.

    Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is a descendant from probably the first “gourmet” coffee shop in southern California. It must predate Starbucks by at least 30 years.

    • CBTL predates starbucks by about 8 years. The very first Starbucks started in 1971. CBTL has been around since 1963. The first shop in California was in 1991, so year almost 30 years.

      CBTL has better coffee, and slightly better prices.

      They are primarily in So Cal, but have locations in NV, AZ, Texas, Alabama, Florida, etc Not the northeast, and only NY and Detroit.

      Also big in Southeast Asia and the Middle East (very successful in both Israel and Arab countries…helps that they are “kosher”)

      AFAIK, the founder was a fairly conservative Jew. And they latest charity-cause they were pushing was to support the military and their families. They are now own by some Singapore couple.

  7. Last I checked,the Springfield Armory webpage was blocked by the .mil internet filter.What a f–king travesty that is,when Facebook is kosher but a military member browsing a firearm website on a MILITARY INSTALLATION is prohibited.

  8. Will not visit or spend my money in Kalifornia or order anything from there,due to they’re gun laws.Sure there might be some good folks out there but all I can say is move from there even if you take a financial loss,because I would rather be poor and free than a serf and paying taxes into a corrupt state government.As for voting,ya’ll are punishing yourselves voting for the communists you put in office.Be prepared and ready.Keep your powder dry.

  9. Chances are that they subscribe / purchased some pre-packaged , dip-sh*t filtering package for their wi-fi . Most of these packages consider guns to = child pron and just block them . i think they all share
    these “prohibited” sites as a core part of their package .

    • Exactly. If you are a regular customer (y’know, so they give a damn), let the manager know that it’s impairing your ability to continue spending money there. Especially since it says “(sales)” and that indicates a misclassification of the site type.

  10. Same result at town library in rural Pocono mtns in PA.

    This is a tad ironic because this part of the world schools still schedule tksgiving break to include first day of deer season because nobody would show up anyway and hardware stores sell ammo over the counter (30-06, mostly. You can get .308 if you’re OK with them looking at you funny.)

  11. Here’s what business’s don’t like-bad press.Heres what television stations DO LIKE -news worthy topic that are controversial .So ,I would contact all the TV stations plus their New York affiliates and convince them this will sell copies(80 million gun owners) and use the topic 1st Amendment Rights Violations.That has nothing to do with guns and use the power of the press to screw them!

  12. No prob in the Coffee Bean in my so ca town, or at SBUX or Mickey Dees. Must be that shop.
    Just tell manager- probably doesnt know its a problem.

  13. The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf near my house has free wifi and I have accessed this site, calguns, etc with it. I like the manager there too. Pretty good guy.

    Probably either a policy of the franchisee or it could even be unintentional. Install filtering software, check the major groups, and TTAG is included by that company under illicit material or something.

    Keep this in perspective, please. I went to a conservative Catholic college. The filter blocked documents on that VATICAN’s website for being obscene. Those things are impossible to set up 100%. Either block more than you want or less. Very few store managers are going to bother trying to customize it perfectly, if at all.

    Frankly as a free resource offered to customers, I would shrug it off.

    • “Those things are impossible to set up 100%. Either block more than you want or less.”

      You mean like a spam filter? Ugh.

      Hey, I’ve got good news for y’all, especially those of you that like to rant about Obama and his socialist tendencies, who suspected you were getting filtered on purpose (even though you weren’t). So it works like this. 1. There’s a blacklist of words that the filter looks for. 2. That filter works inside of words, e.g. ‘cock’ on the blacklist will get ‘cocked’ whenever someone talks about a gun. 3. The blacklist contains the brand name of about every popular drug on the market. 4. Socialist. Do you see it?

      Cialis. Cialis was on the list, and every time someone typed socialist or socialism, they got spam filtered. It’s fixed now. Carry on.

      • Oh yes, spam and language filters. I have many times had to write innocuous words with áccent marks; the filters do not recognize an á as an a.

        This was especially frustrating on a language forum for Latin (I am a language nerd). Where a very common word meaning “with” was blocked. As in “Ego tecúm venio” (I go with you). Or for that matter any present, plural third persons ( they say is “dicünt” in latin). I highly doubt a Latin forum intended to block common Latin words….

        Really, before publicly complaining, or hurling the frequently abused label communist or socialist around (which terms are, I gather, meaningless to those using them), would it not be fair to ask the manager? Hey, I have a blog I like to read which is blocked? Maybe he can fix it. Or maybe he will defend the policy. But it isn’t fair to get outraged without even asking him about it first.

        What is with this sense of entitlement? You maid $2.xx for some coffee and now demand what?

  14. Why anyone would drop $10 at a commie coffee shop, when that equates to 50 rnds of 22LR is beyond me.
    Pack a thermos, buy more ammo and Train with it (the ammo)
    Believe me, you need to be training not sitting on your butt in a socialist coffee shop

  15. I pay extra on my phone to have a wifi hot spot as I can’t count on wifi in some of the places I go. by the way, there is no such thing as free Wi-Fi. They are always conditional on their terms of service. it is there Wi-Fi I can put any filters on their they want, but they can block my carriers data line.

    • I got an app for my phone called WiFi Manager because I liked the way it handled and displayed available wifi signals. I’d had it for a couple months when I discovered an easter egg. It has several widgets of varying sizes to display the network you’re connected to, signal strength, etc., but it also has one called WiFi Access Point.

      Now, you see, unlike you, I don’t pay for Access Point/Tethering capabilities on my phone, and AT&T does charge extra for them. So if I go into WiFi settings and attempt to turn on Portable Hotspot, it attempts to verify that I’m allowed to use it, and shortly tells me that I can’t. What I discovered was that the WiFi Access Point widget that came with WiFi Manager bypasses that system check and simply turns the access point on.

      I rarely use it, both because I don’t have the need and because I’m not paying for it, but it has come in handy in a pinch on a few occasions. It’s nice to know it’s there (for now) when I’ve needed it.

  16. Hey John,
    That’s funny, I used to go to that CB all the time when I worked in Century City. Knowing the types of people that typically go there, I wouldn’t be surprised if everything gun-related was blocked. Heck, Fox News might be blocked there because it upsets patrons looking over your shoulder. No big deal… I still prefer Starbucks.

  17. Being an IT geek who configures these web filters I can say that they did not block ttag explicitly. They blocked the category of “weapons”. Ttag is obviously configured in their filters as a site about weapons.

      • Actually, they are just providing access to the internet for your lap top or other device. As long as you aren’t doing anything illegal, it isn’t any of their business. Furthermore, it is open to the public which is an invitation to do business with the public. They didn’t build the sidewalks and streets up to the door. This isn’t the manager nor owners private living quarters we are talking about here or parts of the premises closed to the public.

        Start blocking access to the NAACP or gay sites and see what happens. Pull out the ADA approved access such as bathrooms and see what happens, especially in California.

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