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Microsoft change impacts some filtering software

Microsoft change impacts some filtering software



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Microsoft has made some big changes to its Internet Explorer. But one change in particular might make your Internet filtering software useless.

You can meet many people working on computers inside the downtown Salt Lake Library. I met Javier using his buddy's laptop to learn how to build a Web site.

"We are not going to share the same Web site. He has his own ideas," he said.

Javier doesn't want his buddy to take his concept, so he erases the cache memory and "history" files of the Web browser.

"Sometimes I clean up everything," he said.

You can do this manually pretty easily. Or, you could use a feature on the latest version of Microsoft's Internet Explorer called InPrivacy Browsing. Firefox and Safari browsers have offered something like this for a long time, but it's new on Internet Explorer. It lets you browse the Web without logging the sites you visit. It's been nicknamed "The Porn Mode" because it leaves no history behind, and it could sidestep some filtering software.

ContentWatch IT Manager Clayton Ostler said, "There are some filtering software that actually, what they do, is look at that cookie and cache information as it comes in, and that's kind of how they log where people go, and then they react to what they see."

Ostler says if your filter reads the information after it goes through your Web browser, InPrivacy Browsing could keep these sites from even being read by the filter. Other programs like Net Nanny get the site data before the browser does, so it can be filtered out.

"It doesn't really matter which browser, or if anyone adds a plug-in or a new feature to the browser, we're still going to be able to filter and report on that information," Ostler said.

Another way people get around software filters is by going to secure "https" Web sites. The information on these sites is encrypted.

ContentWatch Vice President of Engineering Louie DiCristofano said, "The (filters) can detect that the data is coming from an encrypted site, but they can't actually read the content of that data."

DiCristofano says screening software could block data it can't read, but that could keep you from looking up important information, like your bank account. A newer version of Net Nanny will come out later this month which can read encrypted data.

E-mail: pnelson@ksl.com

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Paul Nelson

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