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Google Encrypted Search
Google Encrypted Search - What it really means for Schools
- 06 January 2012
Searching the web for innocuous things can often bring surprising and unwanted results.
Many web filters (including Smoothwall) force the user to ‘safe-search’ - an effective way of ensuring that what pops up isn’t going to be offensive or inappropriate. So far so good - safe search results and no nasty surprises.
However, there’s a snag that may catch the unwary. The HTTPS protocol (which encrypts the web page between you and the server to stop interference) stops many web filters from intercepting full URLs or modifying the pages in any way. Ah! you say - that’s not really a problem for me or my students as we don’t use encrypted search. Sorry, but you probably do.
HTTPS on Google used to be optional, now they're changing it to be default. So the ‘safe search’ you once relied on now may not be so ‘safe’.
Smoothwall users don’t have to worry as we’ve been filtering HTTPS searches effectively for ages - our HTTPS interception allows us to inspect pages and remove dodgy thumbnails and content (but only if it’s actually turned on - if you’re not sure ask your IT support).
And, if your web filter can't do HTTPS interception, you'll need to say ‘thanks but no thanks’ to Google and its search engine - unless you like (unpleasant) surprises.
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