How does web filtering work?
The department's web filtering system is installed on departmentally-owned computers, including National Secondary School Computer Fund devices (NSSCF).
When students, school staff and corporate staff attempt to access a website, the filtering system checks what category the website falls under according to the content on the website.
The website is then either available or blocked, based on that category (PDF, 99KB) .
This diagram (PDF, 355KB) outlines how the filtering system works on devices at school, on department supplied 3G and at home for both staff and students.
Levels of filtering
When students are at school they automatically have the highest level of filtering. This level restricts them from websites such as:
- Social networking sites e.g. Facebook
- Open/Mixed content sites e.g. YouTube
- Translation sites e.g. Google translation
- Chat sites e.g. MSN Messenger
- Internet telephony e.g. Skype
- Media sharing e.g. Prezi
Students using DETE 3G connections to access the internet away from school are automatically enforced with the same level of filtering they experience at school.
When students use their devices at home, the filtering system (proxy client), functions with two levels of filtering, high (more restrictive) and medium (less restrictive).
A high level of filtering at home provides a less restrictive access than at school however a greater level of protection than medium. Websites and web applications that are blocked at school but are available to students at home include:
- Blogs/personal pages
- Chat/Instant Message e.g. MSN Messenger
- Internet Telephony e.g. Skype
- Media Sharing e.g. Flickr
- Online Storage e.g. Dropbox
- Software downloads
In partnerships with schools, parents/caregivers can allow their child medium level filtering when they are connected to a non-departmental internet connection, such as their own home internet.
Medium level filtering provides a less restrictive level of protection. Students with this level can access a wider range of websites, which include:
- Social networking e.g. Facebook
- Adult/Mature content
- Alternative Spirituality/Belief
- Translation websites
School staff can help refine the department's filtering system in a more streamlined and efficient manner by gaining automatic access to uncategorised sites.
Staff will notice the information page containing an online request form, informing them their requested site is uncategorised. They will then gain access after they nominate the most likely category the site falls under.
The nominated category then needs to be confirmed by the filtering system which takes 24 hours. After this time, if the site's official category is one that is blocked for all school staff statewide, the website will become inaccessible. However, if your principal or MIS admin has granted you 'temporary access' privileges, you can continue to access this blocked website for another 24-hour period only.
You'll receive an email informing you of the result of your nominated category. If you disagree with the final result, you can log a job with the Service Centre (DETE staff only) to have it assessed by the department's filtering team.
'Temporary access' privileges are given by the MIS administrator through the MIS Portal to school staff. It allows them access to sites which have been blocked statewide, for a 24 hour period, once only. Please note this does not include sites that are within the 'school block list', 'permanently blocked list', 'placeholder' sites, or 'timed access block list'.
On top of the statewide filtering rules, your MIS administrator can restrict access even further for your school through the MIS Portal. For example, an online shopping site may be available for staff in the statewide filtering rules, but your MIS administrator can, in consultation with the principal, make the site unavailable for all staff in your school.
Please note that your MIS administrator cannot make available sites that are in the statewide 'block' list.
The proxy client is a filtering system that has been applied to departmentally-supplied devices and other mobile devices.
It offers students and school-based staff protection and security when connecting to the department's network, both on and off site.
Supported Internet Browsers
Internet Explorer (IE) and Safari are the only supported browsers on departmental devices, meaning other browsers may or may not actually work as intended on the school/departmental network.
As an example, browsers other than IE may not be fully compatible with the department's core systems, such as OneSchool or the Learning Place.
The department recognises that no matter which web filtering or browser system is used there is no substitute for parental supervision to ensure appropriate and safe internet use.
The department has a requirement to protect and secure its information and computer systems stated in IFM-PR-006: Maintaining the Security of Department Information and Systems.