Web Filtering: Central policies

Updata use Netsweeper to provide the web filtering across the HICS service. (Netsweeper claim that 1 in 3 of all British school children are protected with their service.)

We have four different filtering policies which we call Web Factors (WF4 to WF1 …  you can think of these like sun screen factors … the higher the factor the more filtering there is!)  Each policy will allow the user to access certain categories of website and deny access to others.

WF1 is the least restrictive and can therefore be regarded as our baseline policy … no schools are able to access sites denied under WF1.  (See below for a note about using the WF1 policy.)

The web filtering policy which is deployed at any time depends on the browser settings of the user concerned.  Please note that the whole approach depends on your users (or at least the users you are not happy to access through the WF1 baseline policy) not having the ability to change their browser proxy settings.  The proxy settings are NOT a SECRET.

A web filtering policy consists of a set of allowed website categories and a set of categories which are denied.  The way that the central policies are constructed from categories of websites is described in this document: hics_web_filtering_policies_april2015

The proxy settings that you need to use for each Web Factor are shown in this document:

 What if you believe that a website is wrongly categorised?

You might occasionally come across a website which you believe is being incorrectly filtered … usually this will because it has been wrongly categorised.  Should this happen please contact the Service Desk (contact details opposite).

Please give:

  • Your name
  • Your position in the school (or other site)
  • The full URL of the website concerned
  • A brief explanation of why you believe that the site is being incorrectly filtered

Unless it’s an emergency, and to avoid transcription errors in lengthy URLs, it’s usually best to use email if you can.  Service Desk staff will then either correct the filtering as you suggest or contact you for further discussion.  If your request has eSafety implications they may involve the eSafety Adviser in that discussion.

 A special note on WF1

WF1 is our baseline policy and is the least restrictive.  It denies access to pornography, the promotion of illegal activities and to the propagation of hatred but most other material is allowed.  As this is a more relaxed baseline than the one employed in the early years of our service we do ask for headteacher (or site manager) approval before you will be able to successfully employ the proxy settings for WF1.  The application for WF1 access is here: wf1-request

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