Since we released LiveStream 5 in 2014 YouTube’s changed a lot. This affects how we approach content filtering and safety with Youtube.
YouTube have removed some safety tools and added more sophisticated ones. They’ve also doubled-down on protecting users’ privacy with encryption.
How schools use YouTube has also evolved. It’s become a vital teaching tool. The wealth of quality educational content means it’s no longer as simple as blocking the whole website for young kids.
The bottom line is YouTube wants to move all of your content controls into the YouTube ecosystem, rather than allowing for any local control inside your network.
If you’re in charge of managing access to YouTube’s content for a company or a school, here are the changes you need to know about.
We have recently moved the School Days Android App project from the now unsupported Eclipse environment to Android Studio. While the biggest changes are behind the scenes, the flow-on effects will be felt by all our users.
We released LiveStream 5.3.0 last week and the full release notes are over on the Knowledge Base. But there’s one important change we wanted to highlight in detail.
The proxy technology we use has improved so we can now transparently filter HTTPS traffic without the client installing any certificates. This new method is called Splicing. While this simplifies on-boarding for your users, it has one notable disadvantage, albeit one we’re used to from explicit proxies:
The proxy can only parse the domain name — the URLs clients request stay encrypted.
This can be a problem for schools as sites like wikipedia.org are now encrypted. Unless the proxy decrypts and inspects the HTTPS traffic, it can’t know which specific articles are being accessed.
Getbusi is always looking at new ideas in Internet management to help stem productivity loss when staff or students use the Internet for time-wasting or illegal activities (either accidentally or deliberately). We try and walk in the shoes of both the users and the administrators, to see how we can best balance these sometimes competing needs.
Productivity loss works both ways. Internet users know the frustration of being denied access to a valid website. LiveStream works to solve this problem with intelligent filtering, and now with the new Premium Reports add-on. LiveStream customers can activate access to this interface which gives you interactive reports, graphs and scheduled reports so you don’t have to manually check in to stay abreast of issues.
When sysadmins want to block or unblock something it's usually the domain or URL that's easiest to target—it's right there in the address bar after all. Our web filter, LiveStream 5, also provides a more advanced evaluation tool called Expressions. Expressions define a pattern with which to match against a string of text. URLs are the string of text in our case.
Expressions let you cast a slightly wider net when trying to catch a particular type of content with your filtering rules. Of course that also means they can easily cast too wide a net if you're not careful. The name of the game is identifying what the URLs you want to target have uniquely in common.
With that in mind, I wanted to highlight a few uses of expressions in LiveStream 5 that we were impressed with, along with our own advice.