back to article Microsoft's idea of Family Protection? Block Google

Install Microsoft’s Family Safety Filter (FSF) – and protect your family from vile and extreme websites such as, er, Google. At least, that’s the experience of slashdot poster, Mike Rimov. In a recent post he describes what happened when he installed the FSF. He writes: "Turned it on, set it to "basic filtering" (their lowest …


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  1. Terry

    Well, not as bad as Vodafone

    When I recently started to use a Vodafone 3G modem I discovered that the Vodafone adult content filter wouldn't let me even log onto that well known den of filth, the Skype homepage.

    Strangely, Vodafone doesn't say on its website that it uses the switched on by default filter to keep you away from its competitors.

  2. David Wood
    Thumb Down

    Won't let you access your own router either

    I installed this a couple of months ago.

    The idea is that each user has a account and they use this to login to the familty safety filter.

    My router occasionally plays up and loses my internet connection so I login to the router through a web browser and reboot the router. When this first happened after installing the Family Safety Filter I couldn't authenticate to (because my net connection was down) and because I wasn't authenticated to I couldn't access anything using a web browser - including my own router!

    Needless to say I uninstalled the Family Safety Filter fairly promptly.

  3. richard
    Gates Horns


    obviously microsoft ran vigorous tests before they released this software and just happened to miss the bit about it blocking their arch rival......

    tres amusing....

  4. Warren


    Don't you realise the kind of filth your kids can find using Google?

    Of course is allowed, you can't find anything with that.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    But Google is evil!

    Google is the best source for finding p0rn!

  6. Darren B


    more like FFS!

  7. Roger Greenwood

    Schools also

    My kids school also block google. Being kids, they just bypass the block and use google anyway, because thats what they use at home and elsewhere. Teachers and support staff don't know how they do this, but they claim to know everything else . . .

    Windows network of course.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To be or not to be a numpty

    Is this a case of Microsoft being useless or numpty that can't setup a piece of software properly. I have played around with the Filter and I didn't have any problems accessing google, I did however have plenty of problems trying to access porn though so switched it off.

    I've added more exceptions to my Trendmicro than anything else.

  9. Richard Porter

    Put the filter in Google

    The answer is for the filters to be inside the search engines, so if you set your profile for family use, let's say, you don't get adult sites returned.

    Of course we should be educating kids about what's on the internet, not creating more "forbidden fruit" which they will find for the sake of doing so, just because it's "banned".

  10. Paul

    In fairness can't really have a family filter without blocking half the internet off anyway.

    @Terry - the blocking of Skype is probably like T-Mobile's blocking of some social networking/communications sites... ...though curiously they block access to downloading MSN Messenger but not to Facebook or Myspace. :)

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    Surely not...?

    MS have released a brain-damaged, broken-by-design product that just happens to have a snide dig at a rival?

    Say it ain't so! My world is collapsing around me! I can't believe it!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it just me ...

    Or is every announcement and "innovation" from MS these days getting progressively more and more bizarre and peculiar?

    I have no idea who is responsible for this retreat from reality -- fatso Balmer himself of their marketing but guess what? It ain't working. Its pissing off lots of people.

    From my point of view they are loosing ground on every front day by day. Here's hoping Windows 7 will continue to alienate even more users than Vista did and prompt them to move to something a little less weird.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google is uncatagorised?

    That's a really comprehensive filter then, if they haven't categorised Google, the worlds top internet site yet, or Yahoo the worlds #2 website....

    Either that or they're a nasty POS company always out with their scams and tricks.

    So let me be clear about this, I want to filter sites that haven't yet been classified in case they are p0rn sites, and I don't want my kids visiting them, and you say, if I want that, they I also have to lose Google? And that's not a anti competitive trick?

  14. Simon Painter

    Microsoft bashing non story...

    Did the clearly unbiased slashdot reader (c'mon, slashdot ffs? you might as well just repost something from test google safesearch? Many people, charged with looking after kids, block normal google and only allow the safesearch. The proxy system that one LEA in the south east uses even silently redirects people who visit google and switches the safesearch to the highest level of filtering. That's not considered evil, just sensible.

  15. adnim


    should sue the ass of Microsoft. It seems that MS will do anything to promote their very poor search service. Why can't the greedy b******* just be happy to rip people off with their OS and Office software.

    I do use XP, but everything else MS has been removed, disabled or blocked at my firewall on my XP install.

    @ha!:Richard. Hasn't experience taught you that Microsoft appear to use the public to test their software?

  16. Dave

    allowing uncategorised content?

    "General portal pages like MSN, and Yahoo are included in a custom section marked 'sites we haven’t categorised':"

    So they're saying to access these sites (which I would categorise as 'search engines') you have to allow access to _any_ uncategorised content? That's seems crassly stupid to me.

  17. Anonymous Coward


    So does Google SafeSearch block, then?

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Heuristic Analysis FTW

    And why exactly can't they just run each page content through a heuristic word filter before it is rendered? It works for spam and it works a treat for web content too. Any fool knows that category- and url-list based filters are nearly worthless on the dynamic web. DansGuardian and other real content filters have figured this out long ago, the big vendors like WebSense are finally catching up, but here when dealing with anything security-related we again see Microsoft taking another backwards approach from the 1990's.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Google are evil.

    You shouldn't use Google - if for no other reason than that they just avoided a shit load of tax in the UK.

    Not only are they corrupt, spineless, greedy and willing to censor the net for those powerful enough, they also avoid tax.

    Microsoft are clueless twonks by comparison but Google are emerging as positively evil.

    And most of you I suppose are too bloody apathetic to change or even to care.

    Until it's too late, when you'll all start whining about how "no one warned us" and "no one tried to raise the alarm".

    DING DING DING DING DING DING (that's the alarm bell btw).

  20. Maty

    @AC 14:58 Tax avoidance

    As far as I know, tax avoidance is legal, and done by every person or company that can afford a tax consultant. It means avoiding those taxes which the revenue has decided you should pay when in fact, you don't have to, and how to change or adjust your activities so as to not pay tax.

    If you don't buy an expensive PC because you don't want to pay the VAT, that's avoiding tax.

    Tax evasion, on the other hand is not paying taxes you are legally bound to pay. It is an anti-social criminal offence that can get you put in prison. So if you say Google avoid tax, so what? If you are accusing them of specific criminal activity, that's somewhat different. As someone commented, the line between tax avoidance and tax evasion is as thick as a prison wall.

  21. adnim

    @AC:Google are evil

    That may well be true, but I think the best way of dealing with Google is to use Scroogle and:

    Block all everything from the Google revenue generating machine: Analytics, Syndication. Block Google cookies, don't use any of their services, Gmail, Google docs etc. and block the doubleclick ad network.

    In other words take but give nothing in return, one should treat MS in the same vain and any other money before customer commercial concerns.

    Despite the evil they do provide the best search service, why not take advantage and fuck them over at the same time?

  22. RW

    As usual, the philosophy of the FSF is ass-backwards

    That philosophy is based on the belief that the web is safe for yard apes, with the exception of a minority of porn/filth websites.

    Which jes' ain't so! The net and the web were built for adults, and quite reasonably cater to adult tastes by default.

    The correct view would be that the web & net are not, as a general rule, safe for children, and exceptions are in the minority by a wide margin.

    I really think it's time for someone to build a filter that blocks _everything_ except sites that are demonstrably safe for the little bastards. Combine that with a requirement for individual log-ons to the system, so Daddy can specify who qualifies as a rug rat and gets filtered content, and who doesn't.

  23. HTR

    OpenDNS is a great way to filter content

    I use on all my networks.

    It block sites right at the point where the lookup happens and you can configure it to select what kind of content to filter.

    (And I'm not affiliated with them in any way, just happen to like it)

  24. Alex
    Thumb Down

    @Google is uncatagorised?

    >>That's a really comprehensive filter then, if they haven't categorised Google, the worlds top internet site yet, or Yahoo the worlds #2 website....

    How do you expect them to categorise it then? It's a search engine. The fact that the homepage is nice and blank and white and "family friendly" doesn't mean all the bizzare crap you can search for with it (which can be displayed using it's own cache and images seen on google's own image search, so dont spew anything about how the filter should only block the domains of the offending sites themselves) is.

    Also, the category that blocks google also blocks the msn homepage and its' resulting live search. Obviously an attempt at hurting the competition in favour of their own search system, right? O wait, wrong, because having just tested the filter (for the first ever time) it in fact doesnt block any of these sites by default, the category has to be set as blocked for it to do so.

    Maybe these sites should be under a better-explained category of "search engines so we dont know what content you can see on them" rather than "uncategorized", but really, it's not that hard to figure out.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: Goodle are evil

    FSF? Type that into Google and see what it shows you. Evil!

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Makes Sense

    Microsoft are trying to corner the internets biggest use, porn, so block all rivals that are better at finding porn, increase your search engine usage, increase your ad revenue, families will be happy as Dad can happily log on on surf , but little Johnny can't, see everyone's a winner.

    My 7 year old is more net savy than my wife!

    My 7 year old has probably seen more of Paris that he should have researching that school trip across the channel.

  27. Paul
    Black Helicopters

    Final proof that...

    ...Microsoft hates the internet. :)

    If Steve wants to "f*&king kill Google" this probably isn't the best way to do it.

  28. Dave


    Don't let Gordon Brown know your thoughts on taxes. As far as he's concerned there's no difference between avoidance and evasion, he wants all of your money, whether he's entitled to it by law or not.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    But isn't....

    Google *THE* internet?

  30. raving angry loony

    new kid on the block

    They are all evil. However, Microsoft has 30 years of proving it really understands and promotes evil, whereas Google is still the new kid on the block when it comes to evilness.

  31. David Farinic

    tested it...

    I was testing it for 2 weeks and it didnt block google for me.

    Maybe there is some misscomunication as programmer for gfi webmonitor I know that some schoools require disabling of google image search etc... however during my testing MS family filter was just too invasive... I wouldnt use it for my children...

  32. Britt Johnston
    Thumb Down

    Together, the nulab answer: @Maty & Dave

    I think I get it. If the prison walls were expanded to, say, the size of GB, then nobody will be allowed to earn real money, and thus tax avoidance is a non-issue. And that solves the problems with money-grabbing companies blocking the internet. They just lose interest.

    Internet blocking is in any event a job for politicians.

  33. James Coombs

    protecting children or M$?

    I want to know if this is to protect our children or to protect Microsoft's profits. I might just go and search MS to see if I can find something I think my children shouldn't see ...

    There's undoubtedly some dubious stuff on Google but only because Google maps the web which has some dubious stuff ... Have MS somehow miraculously come up with a search engine which only returns "safe" material?

  34. Chris Simmons

    @Britt Johnston


    Internet blocking is in any event a job for politicians.


    You are either naive, taking the piss or just plain stupid. Nobody should have the right to censor anything I wish to read or view. Anything I find distasteful will be censored by me and not some arrogant, bigotted nut-job in Whitehall who has so much understanding of and care of personal freedoms as anyone with a fucking tree up their arse can. Fucking government, frigging M$ grumble grumble moan.

  35. Britt Johnston

    @chris simmons - who controls the internet

    <You are either naive, taking the piss or just plain stupid.>

    If I have to choose, I'll take option 2.

    Please note that the previous content, suggesting Britain would be better off if it were treated as a prison for tax purposes, was also not meant entirely seriously, and was written to be palatable only to a nulab diehard - at the end of an era there are only tough pickings - though I felt it was worth capturing the thought.

    This won't stop politicians trying to control the internet, though, you read about it every day in El Reg.

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