Is Your AI-Based Web Filter CIPA Compliant?

There’s been some disparaging content about “URL-based filtering” lately — suggesting that it isn’t able to effectively block without over-blocking. At Lightspeed Systems, we know that while educational content shouldn’t be over-blocked, adult content can’t be under-blocked either. Schools need to maintain that fine balance — and Lightspeed Systems has built the technology that delivers the balance schools need.

Calling the technology that powers Lightspeed Systems Relay and Web Filter “URL-based filtering” is like calling Google “URL-based search.”

Sure, our solutions crawl and index the Web and categorize domains. They do so based on advanced AI technology, proprietary algorithms, an army of robot crawlers, and human reviewers — garnering deep insights into each site’s content, images, metatags, history, and more. (All this information about our categorizations is publicly available at

Effective filtering certainly requires more than a static URL list. It also requires more than real-time AI. That’s why we combine our advanced AI and database technology to provide the best filtering available.

Lightspeed Beats the Competition at CIPA Compliance and Student Safety

We put GoGuardian Admin to the test.

So you’ve been reading all the latest news and marketing about web filters for schools. And real-time, AI-based, contextual content scanning and analysis might sound smart — but do they work? We tested GoGuardian Admin on the most fundamental metric of success for web filters: how well it blocks pornographic content. And it just didn’t work.
To test, we blocked the pornography category and turned on Smart Alerts for the Explicit category with “medium confidence”. (Medium confidence is the lowest available setting, meaning we are not totally sure it’s inappropriate, so content is more likely to be over-blocked than under-blocked).

Here are the results of our tests:

  • Of more than 3,200 unambiguously pornographic sites we tested (randomly pulled from our database of more than 300,000 pornographic domains), GoGuardian allowed 60% of this pornographic content
  • Of the 40% pornographic sites that were blocked by GoGuardian, many pornographic sites were fully visible for up to 20 seconds before eventually being blocked
  • Pornographic thumbnails and featured channel images in YouTube were not blocked
  • Adult images within Google docs did not trigger a block or Smart Alert
  • Adult images and content in dynamic sites like Pinterest were not blocked
  • On top of this, site allow/block rules were constantly changing and inconsistent: sites that were blocked one minute might be allowed the next, and vice versa

Click to see a sample report that shows a student “filtered” by GoGuardian visiting pornographic URLs — with only two blocked by GoGuardian.

We don’t think any of these things are acceptable to schools. Fortunately, there’s a better solution.

If your school needs a web filter that blocks inappropriate content, allows educational content, ensures CIPA compliance, and keeps your students safe on any device anywhere they go, check out Relay.

With Relay, you get smarter filtering:

• Our filtering solutions are CIPA compliant out of the box
• Our comprehensive and accurate Adaptive AI Database ensures inappropriate content is blocked
• We combine our database technology with advanced AI for the best protection, least overblocking, and greatest control
• Smart Play keeps YouTube safe
• Features like Flagged Terms and Threat Check allow you to keep sites like Google Docs available to students, while ensuring you know about inappropriate or dangerous content in them
• Granular categories (that, for example, differentiate educational games from other games) ensure you aren’t overblocking
• We allow you to block unknown URLs that haven’t yet been categorized or scanned (though with Lightspeed Systems, no site stays unknown for long!)
• Powerful filtering settings in an intuitive UI make it easy to adjust all filtering policies to fit your needs

(Plus, Relay gives you all this on Chromebooks, Windows devices, Mac devices, and iOS devices – filtering every app and every browser.)

Not convinced? Contact us to find out more about our filtering technology and the results of our comparative tests.

We are committed to protecting students – no matter what. Even if you aren’t using a Lightspeed Systems Filtering solution, any school can contact us for a list of explicit sites to add to custom block lists. (Because there are so many sites and new ones added every day, we can’t guarantee complete or ongoing safety with any solution but our own.)

We aren’t posting additional details and URLs here because we don’t want to make it any easier for students using other solutions to access inappropriate content.