Yesterday Lucie was reading to me some postings from one of her Google
lists. In this post was a story of a large school district out west where
the network admins had blocked google.com because the search engine
provider has allowed people to encrypt their searches.
To see for yourself try https://google.com
Both what you are searching for and the results are encrypted, no one can
snoop on you (unless they are in the room and can see your screen).
This school district had immediately come to the conclusion that they
could no longer control where the students went on the Internet. I am
amazed, you still can't visit any sites that are on the web filter's
blocked lists. You just see the results that point to those sites. The
fallout is that no one could use any Google tools, could not log into
gmail or any Google Domains for Education, could not access Google docs.
I remember years ago when we were first talking about filtering when I
said it would be a slippery slope. Once an institution became addicted to
the false sense of security that these software programs provide there
would be no turning back. Adult supervision would become sloppy and
people would get into the habit of treating the Internet callously and
without the respect and caution that a field trip into cyberspace
When we were discussing this event at our last network admins meeting at
FCSU one of the other admins (the young one who doesn't use Linux GUI's -
command line only) opined that allowing thumbnail pictures and leading
sentences from an ill formed search could shock a younger student. Thus
pointing out that my contention that the only real use for a filter is to
prevent a student from stumbling onto in appropriate material accidentally
is brought into question by this change in practice by Google. I had to
admit he was right, but allowed that if you had as one of your home pages
the unencrypted google then the student would have to intentionally enter
the encrypted address, so then it could not be accidental.
Anyway - Is anyone out there concerned about this? Is anyone planning on
doing anything in response to this change by Google? How many people now
are actively scanning people's search results for forbidden content? Does
anyone have any opinion on the actions of the Western school district that
would rather destroy all of the tools Google makes available than allow
people to search without their supervision?
Yeah - long day, can't wait for school to be over and things to settle