| Saturday November 22nd 2014

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


You know that “child-safety” software that monitors your kids’ every click and sends it to some spyware creep whose main profit-center is running national firewalls for totalitarian states who use the same service to figure out whom to hood, kidnap and torture?

chat im windowTurns out that these same sleazeballs also monitor your kids’ IM sessions and sell the info to market-research companies that want to fine-tune how they sell sugar and explosions to kids.

Software sold under the Sentry and FamilySafe brands can read private chats conducted through Yahoo, MSN, AOL and other services, and send back data on what kids are saying about such things as movies, music or video games. The information is then offered to businesses seeking ways to tailor their marketing messages to kids.”This scares me more than anything I have seen using monitoring technology,” said Parry Aftab, a child-safety advocate. “You don’t put children’s personal information at risk…”

EchoMetrix, formerly known as SearchHelp, said companies that have tested the chat data using Pulse include News Corp.’s Fox Broadcasting and Dreamworks SKG Inc. Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures recently signed on.

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.

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