Good News - You can now control access to Google SSL pages yourself
As you may be aware Google have recently released a beta version secure search engine. This new search engine allows users to search the internet, with their search terms and results encrypted. This encryption bypasses the filtering system in place and is affecting many of the mainstream filtering suppliers to education. This means Google Secure Search will return results for ALL search terms, including video/picture thumbnails. Users who attempt to click through to inappropriate sites will find these pages subject to normal filtering policies. For more information click here. To ensure the continued online safety of all users, the South West Grid for Learning has taken the decision to block ALL traffic to secure Google sites. The knock-on effect of this is that access to other secure Google sites, such as Gmail, Google Apps and YouTube will also be blocked.
The South West Grid for Learning are aware a number of customers use these Google services, and as a result have added a new filter list to your SWGfL Filtering service. This gives schools the ability to quickly unblock access to these sites. The new filter list is called “Google Secure Services (Inc GMail and Calendar)”. To grant access to these sites again, your SWGfL Filtering administrator will need to un-check this filter list in the admin interface - https://admin.filtering.swgfl.org.uk
. If you are unsure of the process to unblock these sites, please contact your normal support provider. Remember, you can also reset your password for the admin interface in the latest version of SWGfL filtering by going to the Settings page.
NOTE: By granting access to GMail, Google apps and other secure Google services such as YouTube users will gain access to the Google Secure Search. As explained above, this will give users access to an unfiltered search engine. Any attempt to view an inappropriate site from these search results will be subject to normal filtering rules.
The SWGfL and RM are working with Google to find a longer term solution and will update all customers once a more permanent resolution is found. You can find the latest update from Google here.