Search, Click - No results says the content filter!

16th June 2013

The search engines of Google and Bing have recently agreed to start blocking content that is considered highly illegal - for example Child Abuse, but is it actually going to make any real difference? We're not so sure.

The reality is that people engaging in this type of activity most commonly do so via closed networks, and not by simply using Google and Bing - so the likely impact is going to be fairly small - and the reality is that this type of underground activity will continue.

The Internet is increasingly being restricted and controlled via these kinds of blocking methods, and you only have to look in the UK where more and more web sites are being blocked by major ISPs to prevent users from downloading music, TV and video content they're not in theory allowed to access. In reality these blocks too aren't having any significant impact, and ultimately create a game of IT whack-a-mole - the major broadband providers blocking one site, for another to pop up in it's place, or for more devious methods to be used to avoid the blocks.

The reality is that these kinds of blocks are being used as a technology fix to a social issue. Our concern is that parents will assume these types of controls, along with similar technologies being ruled out by major ISPS to provide "content filters" are enough that they can leave a child to use the internet without supervision.

Similar approaches are adopted by businesses wanting to restrict and control use of the Internet by workers, rarely with the kind of success expected. Savvy users will find ways to bypass the filtering, while others will find routine and perfectly legitimate work tasks being hindered by the restrictions. Better would be a silent approach of logging access, reporting on likely bad use, and then manually dealing with breaches while ensuring staff have an open dialog and understanding of what is permissable.

To find out more on security, protection and access controls, speak to our Exeter, Devon based team today on 01392 950 950.

Image credit: Darkone (Wikimedia Commons)
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