Microsoft making Bing safer for schools

It didn't long for people to discover that a single click on the search filter settings in Bing made porn clips available right from within the Bing search page. I like to call it "porn-in-a-portal.

It didn't long for people to discover that a single click on the search filter settings in Bing made porn clips available right from within the Bing search page. I like to call it "porn-in-a-portal." Although I haven't been overly impressed with Bing, it has some useful features and now Microsoft has announced a way for network administrators to automatically enforce the strictest search safety settings, making Bing a much more viable choice for schools and libraries.

According to a company blog post today,

We think our current search safety settings are solid but at Microsoft we are always working on pushing this stuff farther. We also are listening to customers, and some have told us they want more control and they want it now. In particular some folks who manage corporate networks have asked for tools now to enforce SafeSearch settings at the network level. So for right now, we wanted to let people know that you can add “adlt=strict” to the end of a query and no matter what the settings are for that session, it will return results as if safe search was set to strict. The query would look like this: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=adulttermgoeshere&adlt=strict (yes it is case sensitive).

Obviously this is a fairly kludgy workaround requiring a few hoops to be jumped through on a network. The blog post goes on to say, however, that

This short term work-around should work with lots of popular firewall and safety products, as well as for larger, managed network environments.

In the next couple of months we will formalize this work...In addition, we are looking for more ways to give consumers more control...

My advice? Wait a few months before encouraging too much Binging if you're not utterly confident in your school's content filter. I'm glad to see Microsoft giving this one some thought, though, or, as they say in their blog, having some "interesting conversations."

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