As you say, however, filtering is much, much more difficult to get right and I think there's little chance of it working. The idea of a .xxx TLD has been floated again and it would be easy to only allow access to that from people who've asked for it but how do you set someone setting up their own personal web site and putting porn on there?
It's interesting that they say porn is causing mental issues in kids. But the other say I watched primary school kids playing on the field from my office. One picked up a stick and started pretending it was a gun.
Can't blame porn for that!
It's once again non technical people deciding what's technically possible. The scale of a system to handle this sort of thing would be immense (not to mention the administration/cost overhead). In my opinion the better option is education of parents in 2 respects - firstly so they can educate their kids about safe use of the internet and secondly education about tools they can use to help protect their kids (K9 for example, parental controls on games devices). The other thing I'd quite like to see developed is a very cut down version of smoothwall or similar - using the content filtering components only (ie no caching, no reporting, possibly short term logging) embedded onto a wireless router type device - this would (I think) be a very quick hit with security conscious parents - those of us with the know how can create a separate box for this, but having something a non-techy could fairly easily use would be a nice addition to the current market place.
Last edited by Willott; 4th January 2011 at 12:53 PM. Reason: typos
Prior art: I'm fuzzy, but it's something like 10 years since some vendors made content filtering domestic routers.
That's before you get into the whole "So what's stopping the kid getting the password and altering the config?" issue. 90% of non-technical people will just set and forget and it's only if young Jimmy is indiscreet enough to get caught that they'll know.
It seems that some people have got DD-WRT and Dansguardian running successfully... however it probably doesn't have a particularly useful interface (and the firmaware may not be as stable as firmware specifically written for the device it's used on), and the interface of Smoothwall is relatively simple to use to control blocking (though some more simplification would probably help in this application).
Packetprotector seems to be some way towards it but requires a USB drive (it may work without if you stop clamav, but it only runs on a limited number of routers).
PiquABoo - I wonder how advanced the filtering was - my guess would be URL filtering (which still appears on some domestic routers - you can block certain URLs... blocked facebook on a Friend's network when their kids should have been doing work but were facebooking...), and not dynamic content type.
Shame my current router isn't up to the task otherwise I'd try building packetprotector for that. If I can spare some cash to buy another router soon then I may buy one and see if I can get it working how I'd like. Even so... a joining forces of Smoothwall and one of the router manufacturers would probably provide a more stable and robust solution for mass sale!
Just sanity-check-googled and found a 2002 NetGear - some basic blocking stuff plus if you paid a subscription it apparently talked to some SurfControl URL categorisation service. Pretty much the same fundamental deal as K9, the Fortigate client etc.I wonder how advanced the filtering was
Overheads of putting category checking into a domestic router are not obviously that different to the DNS service you normally get on them. Whether you'd get a categorisation service to let some vendor hook up a h/w device for free is another matter. Presumably not, otherwise this would be a common feature by now surely?
I don't have enough technical knowledge to be able to know for definite, but the idea was there for people to investigate!
Solutions like filtering in the home are fine for sensible parents who understand the need for such a device. For Windows users I believe that Windows Live Family Safety 2011 is pretty good (and it's free).
Sadly, there are too many parents who either don't know or don't care about web safety and this is why there's a proposal to move the filtering further up-stream.
The technological problem then is that instead of needing a low spec device to handle the filtering for half a dozen users, you need mega-devices which can cope with thousands of users. You can't really do it by DNS which would be quick and low impact (because www.myspecialsite.com/porn is bad but www.myspecialsite.com/fluffybunnies is good) so you have to have URL based or content based filtering which needs more CPU.
The Netgear Router filtering stuff was ok, I had a friend using it and it sort of worked, his son soon learnt how to get around it he said, but it did help cut down the dodgy accidental google searches so he said.
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