The proposed changes outline that each school should “ensure appropriate filters and appropriate monitoring systems are in place. Children should not be able to access harmful or inappropriate material from the school or colleges IT system” however, schools will need to “be careful that ‘overblocking’ does not lead to unreasonable restrictions as to what children can be taught with regards to online teaching and safeguarding.”
The UK Safer Internet Centre have aimed to outline what Education providers should consider ‘appropriate filtering’ here. Below, we outline how Smoothwall meets these standards and allows you to provide appropriate filtering for your school or college.
Do we block access to illegal child abuse images and content (CAIC)?
Yes, this content is part of the IWF (Internet Watch Foundation) list, which has been implemented as part of the Smoothwall blocklist since 2008.
Do we integrate the “police assessed list of unlawful terrorist content, produced on behalf of the Home Office”?
Yes, this is integrated in the Smoothwall blocklist.
Do we offer:
Age appropriate differentiated filtering?
Smoothwall provide true ‘who, what, when, where’ filtering with flexible user and group (plus time and location) based controls and an orderable policy table which permits any filtering policy permutation desired through unified, easy to use policy management tools and wizards.
As Smoothwall is capable of being deployed in transparent mode, these policies described can be applied to any user, on any device, in any location.
Web filtering policies are applied based on
“who” (user or user group from a directory),
“what” (type of content),
“where” (client address – either host, subnet or range),
“when” (time period) in a filtering policy table that is processed from top-down.
Control – has the ability and ease of use that allows schools to control the filter themselves to permit or deny access to specific content?
Several means of such control is available:
Filtering Policy – the filtering provider publishes a rationale that details their approach to filtering with classification and categorisation as well as over blocking
Smoothwall uses Content-Aware Web Filtering to check the content, context and construction of a web page at the point of request. Dedicated HTTPS filtering policies allow you to filter HTTPS traffic, eradicating the threat of malicious content being accessed via HTTPS.
Search Term Filtering (keyword blocking)
Smoothwall uses a proprietary search term analysis/blocking engine to widen the scope of safe searching to meet the requirements of educational establishments (applicable on Google search only when using HTTPS decryption and inspection).
SafeSearch Enforcement: the solution incorporates ‘force SafeSearch’ on over 20 search engines including but not limited to Google, Bing, Yahoo as well as sites such as Youtube and Flickr. Content modification is enforced by default to strict and removes the SafeSearch option for users so that SafeSearch cannot be turned off or altered by any user.
Deep URL analysis: Smoothwall incorporates image removal based on the resultant destination link, providing safe searching of images, used predominantly to remove inappropriate images in a legitimate search (requires HTTPS decryption and inspection for Google Image Search).
URL blocklists form a “first line of defence”, incorporating Smoothwall’s own UK developed definitions along with content from the Internet Watch Foundation database, all updated on a hourly basis. (Smoothwall are members of the IWF)
Flash Filtering – Filters the actual content of Flash files & allows online games and time-wasting flash objects to be more accurately blocked.
Dynamic Content Analysis (see real time content filtering)
Smoothwall will block 100% of all objectionable material based on the scoring parameters and filtering methodologies shown in the above list.
Identification – the filtering system should have the ability to identify users
Smoothwall integrates with various directory servers such as Active Directory and Google Apps for Education.
Mobile and App content – isn’t limited to filtering web traffic and includes the blocking of inappropriate content via mobile and app technologies
Smoothwalls DPI engine is able to block applications based on signatures, and also provides HTTPS filtering.
Network level – filtering should be applied at network level i.e. not reliant on any software installed on user devices
Filtering is applied by either setting proxy server setting in the browser, or transparently, by routing network traffic through the Smoothwall.
Reporting mechanism – the ability to report inappropriate content for access or blocking and Reports – the system offers clear historical information on the websites visited by your users
The Smoothwall reporting suite is tailored to Education requirements. Smoothwall contains over 150 standard reports aimed at the core needs of these markets and the ability to generate custom reports. Reports can be automated to run at certain times and be sent out automatically by the system. The Smoothwall product provides access to data on user activity through both logs and reports.
Logs are detailed as hit-by-hit accounts of the entire browsing activity of users. These are typically only useful to technical administrators, hence are only available through the main admin user interface. They can be viewed historically up to the maximum retention of the system. The logs can also be viewed in real-time which assists troubleshooting of issues in the school environment. Web filter logs include extensive detail including date/time, username, group, client IP, URL, categorisation(s) of request, HTTP return code and if the request was blocked the policy performing the blocking.
We are confident in stating that the Smoothwall web filter effectively meets the standards outlined by the UK Safer Internet Centre and the draft Government legislation. We have also been taking additional measures to ensure we are compliant and that you are able to keep children safe online with our new safeguarding features, which you can read more about here.
Real-time, content aware web filtering technologies combined with next generation firewall give you The Web You Want. Developed in the UK.
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