Child-safety software sells your kids' IM conversations to market-research companies


30 Responses to “Child-safety software sells your kids' IM conversations to market-research companies”

  1. arkizzle / Moderator says:

    End of helmet discussion, in 3.. 2.. 1..

  2. creesto says:

    #9 Takuan, you read my mind. I speak plainly to my boys about all sorts of topics that seem challenging to some parents: sex, drugs, when its OK to curse and not get in trouble, how to avoid letting your friends drag you into trouble with them, etc. I feel the same way about helmets: my boys have both learned to fall, just like I did, with no helmet just a tuck and roll. Besides, scabs are fun!

  3. Takuan says:

    some lessons stick.

  4. cycle23 says:

    Oh oh.. helmets? I taught my daughter to yell to anyone who bothers her about a helmet “well, retarded people need them to walk, and I don’t see yours…”


    that’ll show em.

  5. dequeued says:

    I should point out, that Parry Aftab is a very real cyber-bully.

    About five years ago, she worked for penguin books, which foolishly published a book of the title (stupid name), unfortunately, that domain had been registered in real life since 1996 as a personal website.

    So, Parry Aftab was more than happy to make ridiculous threats against the domains legitimate owner and demand the domain name.
    She actually tried to claim that a book publisher that came out with a book in 2002 owned the rights to a domain name registered in 1996.

    She’s a total media whore now hawking her crap about “cyber-bullying”.
    I guess she would know, bullying people herself.

    She doesn’t deserve our attention.

  6. Zergonapal says:

    I hate programs like this it amounts to parental neglect in my opinion, if you won’t teach your children to surf the internet responsibly then you shouldn’t allow them access to a computer at all.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if this would be a violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998

    SEC. 1303.


  8. robulus says:


    I admire your candor with your kids, but visit a head trauma unit some time and get some perspective.

    Then make damn sure they wear helmets.

  9. Neuron says:


    Nevertheless, it would be a shame if someone subjected them to a DDOS attack.

  10. Stefan Jones says:

    Oh, come on! This is nothing compared to the real dangers facing our kids, like listening to the president giving a speech about staying in school.

  11. Thorzdad says:

    It’s all good, people. This is a private corporation doing this, not the evil socialist government. You can trust the market to do the right thing.

  12. lalo says:

    No matter how douchbaggy or trustworthy such a company is. I couldn’t even begin to consider using one, until such time as there is a “customizable” version, one that will actually ask you what is and isn’t acceptable, respecting each family’s personal views and code.

    Then again, that would be almost as much work as, you know, actually educating the kids. So I guess not.

  13. TJ S says:

    Cory, I thought this was supposed to be your day off. Go relax.

    Back on topic, I’m of the opinion that market-research people should be more despised by society in general than lawyers and politicians.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if this spyware would get the British Standards Institute kitemark for child safety software? If it did, it would be the only software that’s bothered to go through the process of certification. I would look at the spec to see if spying on the little horrors is part of the certification, but you have to “buy” this “public” specification…

  15. Jules Pitt says:

    That’s pretty despicable behavior, but can you blame them? Selling sugar and explosions to children is an uphill battle, believe you me.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone remember what a bully Parry Aftab is?
    see this interview at greplaw

  17. Andrew says:

    EchoMetrix CEO Jeff Greene said the company complies with U.S. privacy laws and does not collect any identifiable information.

    “We never know the name of the kid — it’s bobby37 on the house computer,” Greene said.

    Yeah, cuz we all know how well that works.

  18. automaton_be says:

    I wonder how the people who knowingly and willingly work on these things can go home at night, kiss their children goodnight and enjoy a good night’s sleep.
    I really do.

  19. Takuan says:

    if you have to use net nanny software on your own kids, you’ve already failed as a parent. The only possible circumstance I can see that might slightly justify such is if you have been coerced into caring for the children of others that you know intend to maliciously and falsely prosecute you later and you need to establish a paper trail of due diligence. You know, like school teachers.

  20. lifesdirtylittlesecrets says:

    Disgusting. But, can you imagine being the guys/gals who have to read and analyze those IM’s?! Reading conversations between self-aggrandising 12 and 13 year olds all day would be enough to drive anyone mad!

  21. Takuan says:

    maybe they could condemn spammers to do the reading.

  22. cstatman says:

    here is marketing for you

    13 year old boys want “to see a nekkid woman”

    girls? I dunno, unicorns or something.

    18 yr old boys want “to see a nekkid woman”

    girls? i dunno, boy band stuff, or booze

    25 yr old boys want “to see a nekkid woman”

    girls? i dunno money

    45 yr old boys want “to see a nekkid woman”

    girls? i dunno, alimony?

  23. Jake0748 says:

    Well, I’m just glad I don’t have anything to hide.

    Um… oh wait…

  24. KanedaJones says:

    having recently found a computer left out for the trash (turns out all good but the power supply!), and also being totally in love with digital archeology, I read all the text I could find on it.

    I prefer to read computer data over 10 years old, cause that’s hilarious, but this machine WAS filled with just the natterings of teens. Bleck! My brain shrunk three sizes that day, and still bangs around like a pea in a barrel.

    that aside I assume that they don’t employ humans, or if so they are in 3rd world at 3rd world rates.

  25. Takuan says:

    a helmet does help. Them scoop up the mess.

  26. Baldhead says:

    Yeah helmets are a good plan. learning to fall is good too, which is all kinds of useful if you have some warning about the fall… and it’s at low speed, but if a car hits you….

    Basically the question should be “would my life improve with brain damage?”

  27. Tdawwg says:

    Anti-helmet humbug is not a wonderful thing….

  28. Takuan says:

    something from the other direction, a little weird

  29. orwellian says:

    I am pretty sure you can do the same sort of thing (block stuff from your kids, not be creepy and invasive) by using and a modified hosts file. I know linux mint will let you block certain addresses as well. I’m building a linux box for my nieces (which makes me Geeky Claus, I think!) and will use opendns as well as adblock and so on.

    It seems to me like we’re going to end up with either a wonderful world of creative freedom and few walls or else corporate/governmental intrusion into every part of our lives. I remember a book, ‘Woman Standing At The Edge of Time’ with that theme. Had to read it for a social work class, which was a good deal as it was rather good.

    Slightly off-topic, but social conservatives could be an ally in this fight. They don’t want government intrusion or control, either. JFK did a good job of reaching out to them, being big on fighting Communism and cutting taxes while starting the Great Society and pushing for civil rights.

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