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A walled garden refers to a limited set of technology or media information provided to users with the intention of creating a monopoly or secure information system.
The term walled garden also refers to mobile phone platforms and applications that can be accessed on a given wireless network.
Walled garden often refers to the process of quarantining computers prone to attacks, such as computers showing the symptoms of botnet activity from malware. In this case, the user can still use a Web browser to access tools to remove the virus.
Walled garden also refers to a limited environment to which an unauthenticated user is given access and allowed to set up an account. Once the account is set up, the user is allowed to leave the walled garden.
In the realm of open and free Internet, the term walled garden refers to a browsing environment where users are restricted to certain content on a website and allowed to navigate only particular areas of the website. The main purpose of creating a walled garden is to shield users from certain kinds of information. This method is often used by an Internet service provider (ISP) to restrict users from accessing some websites.
The term walled garden was created by John Malone, who started a company called Tele-Communications Inc., which was acquired by AT&T in 1999. The term has been compared to a magazine that offers limited content to its readers after compiling different types of information.
Walled gardens have been used for a very long time. Schools and colleges extensively use the walled garden method to prevent students from accessing inappropriate content on the Web. Teachers need a password to leave the walled garden environment and browse the Internet without any restrictions on website content.
Some Internet service providers (ISP) also create a walled garden environment include AOL, Comcast and AT&T. ISPs generally provide a walledgarden.cfg file to the user’s modem, which requires validation through a process called provisioning. This type of configuration restricts users from accessing certain resources.
The walled garden method is widely used by mobile phone companies. It is often used by mobile carriers in wireless devices, such as smart phones, to provide limited content to users. The part of the Web that can be accessed by users is referred to as the walled garden.
Although a walled garden offers easy navigation options, it is unpopular with many users because the content offered is limited and is only a part of what the Internet has to offer. Different names such as “walled prison” and “walled desert” have been suggested by some users who believe they better reflect and define the confinement of a walled garden.