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Microsoft's idea of Family Protection? Block Google

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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 level), and went to Google... oops, it blocks Google! So I logged into the settings and added Google as an exception. Google still wouldn't come up. Just in case, I turned off the family filter... voila, Google."

There is undoubtedly a simple explanation for this episode. Alongside a cute photo of an adult and child holding hands, Microsoft tell us: "As a parent, you want to help make your family's experiences safer and more secure, and you want to provide good guidance. Windows Live Family Safety can help.

"Windows Live Family Safety is a Web service that's free to people who use Microsoft Windows XP. The American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) helped Microsoft develop age-based guidance for Internet use that's included in."

The package should "configure safer Web browsing and searching, with content and communication filters that you can personalize for each family member". In addition, you can "supervise your kids’ activities from any computer, using Web-based reports that show what your kids are doing online. You can grant or deny requests to view certain Web sites, even when you are not home."

Oddly, their blurb says nothing about blocking Google. A spokesman for Microsoft told us: "While we don’t have specifics on this user’s experience we do not actively filter the Google home page. General portal pages like MSN, Google.com and Yahoo are included in a custom section marked 'sites we haven’t categorised': if that box is left unchecked, then access might be denied."

In other words, if you DO want access to Google when this package is running, you have to opt in.

Mike Rimov continues: "As we all know, "Don't be evil" is not part of Microsoft's motto!".

However, "with the filter on, Microsoft's own search engine, live.com comes up." ®

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