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My Two Cents on Dialog “Suraksha”

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If you do not know what it is, Dialog “Suraksha” (which means “safeguard”) is a zero-configuration parental control service introduced by Dialog Axiata, available to Dialog Mobile and Home Broadband customers free of charge. The service has two main features: data restriction and real-time location tracking. I decided to test the service because I can introduce it to friends and family, although I don’t have children of my own. For my test, I used my Dialog Home Broadband Connection with my Apple MacBook Air running macOS Sonoma, a Dell Vostro 15 3568 running Windows 10 Professional Edition, four mobile devices (Oppo A12, Oppo A15, Samsung A55, and the Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max), four different browsers (Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Apple Safari, and Mozilla Firefox), and three different smartphone apps (YouTube, Facebook, and WhatsApp Messenger). Provided below are my two cents on Dialog Suraksha based on the test results:

What is Functional and What’s Not in Dialog Suraksha

The data restriction feature has two sub-features: content restriction and time restriction. Under the content restriction section, there are four options: No Restriction, Kids Friendly Internet, Work & Learn Only (only YouTube, Google, Microsoft, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and WhatsApp are allowed), and Internet Blocked. When tested, the Work & Learn Only and Internet Blocked features worked as intended without a glitch. However, the Kids Friendly Internet (content filtering) feature, the most important one, worked only if I typed the URL directly into the web browser. It was ineffective against sites visited through Google search results. Initially, I assumed content filtering did not work because I was using custom DNS servers. However, removing Google Public DNS servers and reverting to ISP-provided DNS servers didn’t resolve the issue.

The dashboard for the Dialog Suraksha service displays the following message at the bottom: “These content restrictions only block identified sites and cannot guarantee 100% blocking of all sites within each content category.” However, Pornhub, the most popular adult entertainment website, was still accessible even with the Kids Friendly Internet option activated. Pornhub receives 600 visitors per second. That is 51,840,000 visits per 24 hours, 362,880,000 visits per week, 1,577,049,600 visits per month, and 18,921,600,000 visits per year. I don’t understand how Dialog missed a website with such massive traffic. I tried accessing XVIDEOS. (Between April 2022 and the beginning of 2024, the traffic to XVIDEOS exceeded 1.7 billion visits.) Dialog Suraksha did not flag that website either. If Dialog Suraksha missed the two most popular adult entertainment websites, I don’t know how many other websites it will miss.

What is Functional but Not Meeting My Expectations

According to Dialog Axiata, the real-time location tracking function built into the Suraksha facility allows parents to monitor the location of their children on a map in real-time, similar to monitoring the location of their UberEats order or the PickMe driver on Google Maps. The reality, however, is far from expectations. The service doesn’t use GPS tracking to locate your child or whoever is holding the device. It uses cell tower geolocation to track the location of the cell tower to which the device is connected. This is useless because while GPS-enabled smartphones are typically accurate to within 16 feet, the average accuracy of cell tower geolocation can vary from 500 to 1500 meters. In my tests, the location was off by almost a kilometre. This is not as helpful or useful as tracking via GPS because your child could be anywhere within a radius of one kilometre. Unfortunately, the service didn’t even point to the publicly accessible building from which I ran the tests.

Features of Dialog Suraksha that Need Improvement

The second subfeature under the data restriction section is time restriction. Although it’s working as intended, there are only three-time slots available: School Time (7 AM – 2 PM), Study Time (4 PM – 7 PM), and Sleep Time (9 PM – 7 AM). There’s no way to set up user-defined custom time slots. In my opinion, this lack of the ability to set up custom time slots makes Suraksha a technically primitive, substandard facility still at its grassroots level. Introducing custom time slots isn’t a complicated task for a telecommunications and Internet service provider like Dialog. Hence, I feel Dialog has deliberately overlooked the need for custom time slots because the service is a “gift horse” and we shouldn’t look it in the mouth. Whether Suraksha is a gift horse or not, Dialog must improve the feature by adding the ability to create user-defined custom time slots so that parents can reap the benefits of a real “time restriction” service.

Wrap Up

On the 22nd of May 2024, I reported my findings to Dialog. After listening to my explanation, the Dialog Customer Care representative said she would lodge a complaint and a technical team would come and check my WiFi router. I received a few calls from the tech team over the next two days, which I ignored because the problem rests with Dialog, not my router. I don’t want a technical team to waste my time trying to fix a problem that is not on my end. If it is an issue with the WiFi router, the “Kids Friendly Internet” feature should have worked with my smartphones protected with “Suraksha.” 20 days have passed since I reported the issue to Dialog and the problem remains unresolved. I wonder whether Dialog even tested “Suraksha” properly before introducing it to the public. The so-called “Real-Time Location Tracking” feature is also an empty promise. Ultimately, the unavailability of user-defined custom time slots makes the service outdated. Dialog needs to address these issues associated with Suraksha because many parents will depend on it for the safety of their children.

If you found this content helpful, I kindly ask you to leave your feedback in the comments section below. Sharing it on social media would also be greatly appreciated. In order to promote meaningful and respectful dialogue, I request that you use your full name when commenting. Please note that any comments containing profanity, name-calling, or a disrespectful tone will be deleted. Thank you for your understanding and participation.

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