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Microsoft offers Bing filth quick fix

Invites you to fiddle

The next step in data security

Embarrassed by Bing's taste for porn, Microsoft's come up with a fix - only you better like having to fiddle with your network or browser settings.

Microsoft's announced a short-term work around so parents, businesses and schools whose kids, employees or students search using Bing can keep their home PCs and networks filth free.

The work around means you must add "adlt=strict" to the end of a query, which Microsoft said would return "safe" results no matter what the settings are for that session. The add-on is case-sensitive.

Microsoft's Bing general manager Mike Nichols blogged a query would look like this:

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=adulttermgoeshere&adlt=strict

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

Nichols noted: "Some folks who manage corporate networks have asked for tools now to enforce SafeSearch settings at the network level".

Network managers might be fine with implementing this change, but it's unclear what the average parent or user will make of this of having to dig inside their system.

Bing's general manager announced the change saying, somewhat euphemistically, there'd been "a bunch of conversation about this feature [Smart Motion Preview] of late" and its ability to subvert porn filters by playing 30-second clips of video by mousing over them in search returns.

Nichols also tried to explain Microsoft's stunning lack of oversight. According to Nichols the idea was to let people view snippets of video without searching, landing on a site, realizing the video found isn't what they'd wanted and having to click the back button - something Nichols called "destination disappointment."

No, there's nothing as unsatisfying as going off half cocked.

It's an embarrassing slip that's going to do more for Bing's fortunes than any $100m-TV advertising campaign. ®

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