Internet company apology over Padstow indecent images
THE INTERNET company which failed to block indecent images appearing on a primary school computer has apologised to children at Padstow School.
The South West Grid for Learning Trust (SWGfL) said as soon as it was made aware of the pornographic pictures, it immediately blocked access to two search engines for every school in the region.
Pupils, staff and parents were shocked when the indecent images appeared during a routine ICT lesson when children were researching a topic on rivers.
The company's education manager, Julia Adamson, said it was very concerned when it was contacted by Padstow's head teacher, Phil Banks, over the incident.
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"We urgently undertook a detailed investigation and established that a problem existed with the Bing and Yahoo Images Safe Search feature that led to offensive thumbnail images being displayed,'' she said.
"Access was immediately blocked to both these search engines for all schools throughout the region. As the source of the images was already on the SWGfL global filter list, click-through access to the source website was already filtered. We apologise that the children at Padstow School encountered these images. We have robust mechanisms in place to ensure that any issue is dealt with immediately and appropriately.
"We take any matter which involves the safety of children online extremely seriously, and indeed our unique mechanisms have helped to ensure that, when extremely serious issues occur – such as those involving attempted access to illegal material – they are given the highest priority by all organisations involved.''
Ms Adamson said the issue at Padstow School was not caused by the failure of its filter system, although no filtering system was infallible. "The problem isn't unique to our filter system. We have also tested a number of other filtering systems and discovered the offensive images are not filtered by these either. But even in very unique circumstances such as this we have the capability to react immediately and block access to such images across all our schools to ensure that this is not repeated.''
She said her company had pioneered work in the field of internet safety since 2003 with huge success.
"We work tirelessly to ensure that not only children are safer while online but also their parents and those working with them, wherever they are.''