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Google Safe Search in Schools

There has been quite a bit of talk about safesearch recently as its moved to https which has caused issues for some with filtering explicit content. Google provide online documentation of how to do this here. I thought it might be useful to illustrate what each approach involves.

Via Chrome Management Policy

If a user is signed into a device using their Google Apps account, you can force SafeSearch using policy. So this works on ChromeOS devices and where users are signed into Chrome on a PC. It also applies anywhere.

So set this in Chrome User Settings in the management console:

While this policy applies offsite - it does not apply if a user in not signed into Chrome on a PC or signed into their own device with a non-domain account. Which brings on the next option for PC's.

Via Chrome Group Policy

If you use Chrome on PC's, you should manage it with the Chrome Group Policy adm. Once added to your domain controller, you can control the behaviour of Chrome, including forcing SafeSearch.

So this will force SafeSearch on for users of PCs on your domain for those who have the policy applied to them. This takes effect irrespective of whether they are signed into Chrome. This, however, does not apply to other browsers (IE for example) or BYOD devices. To catch those, you can go to the final method - enforcing at the network level.

Network level enforcement

If, like us, you use a squid based transparent proxy, you can enforce SafeSearch on any device that connects to your network in a few seconds. 

So log into your server running squid and dnsmasq and create the file + contents indicated in the lines above. Restart dnsmasq and thats it. Once done, users get a notification that SafeSearch is enabled and cannot turn it off - even on their own devices while on your network.

So this is what it looks like for the end user:

How you do the last step varies a little bit depending on how you run your gateway and dns - but it simply amounts to a dns reroute. Everything here should be viewed alongside how you do content filtering as this may include the option out of the box.

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