From tomorrow 23rd June 2015 Google will make significant changes to the way it returns search results in any Google searches, including Google Image searches.

What does this mean for your school?

This change will make it impossible for Internet filtering products to continue to effectively filter search results, meaning that school pupils and staff will be at greater risk of being exposed to inappropriate images and content if care is not taken to search accurately and sensitively.

We strongly urge you to contact your Internet service provider and filtering provider to see how they plan to protect your school community online as this change could represent a real safeguarding issue.

It means that it is highly likely that inappropriate material could appear in search results in the form of inappropriate links, thumbnail images etc. Whilst there has always been a slight potential for this to happen in the past, as no filtering system is 100% secure; the new change made by Google will mean that the possibility for inappropriate content to pass by filters has increased enough for RM to be concerned.

What about Google SafeSearch?

You can apply Google SafeSearch; however this is not something that we would recommend you do as your only filtering to the Google search engine. Although SafeSearch will filter out content deemed as 'mature' by Google, it may still display content that you do not want your school community exposed to. It does not give you the control or flexibility to pick and choose particular sites. Schools have a real responsibility when it comes to online safeguarding and we would therefore not recommend SafeSearch as an appropriate filtering level.

What's next?

Google have informed us that this change will occur on the 23rd June 2015; no Internet service provider has any control over this. As we mentioned, we recommend that you contact your current Internet service provider to see how they have responded to this change.

If you are an RM Broadband customer then you can walk through your school gates tomorrow morning knowing that we've got this covered. As soon as Google announced the change at the end of last year we got straight to work to develop and add additional functionality to our filtering solution RM SafetyNet to provide a way to filter inappropriate Google search results.

Our new 'SSL interception' functionality means that we can intercept and filter Google search results after Google implement their change.

All RM Broadband customers can speak to a specialist on our dedicated number 01235 826 263.

Categories: Safety and security, Network managers

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