“Parents who install a leading brand of software to monitor their kids’ online activities may be unwittingly allowing the company to read their children’s chat messages — and sell the marketing data gathered,” says AP, going on:
“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.”
But not so great because, “The information is then offered to businesses seeking ways to tailor their marketing messages to kids,” it says, quoting Parry Aftab (right), “a child-safety advocate,” as saying, “This scares me more than anything I have seen using monitoring technology.
“You don’t put children’s personal information at risk.”
Aftab is, as far as we know, still executive director of Wired Kids, “an organization devoted to educating children about online legal and safety issues.
Wired Kids once awarded the MPAA a prize for its school ‘education’ efforts.
And Aftab’s name came up in a post featuring an early MPAA triumph.
The Hollywood front outfit had, “dragooned a 13-year-old Wisconsin child into publicly apologizing for downloading four movies,” we said, “And if that were not bad enough, the boy, Ben Rangel, also has to ‘warn’ others, ‘not to swap movies and music illegally’, said p2pnet, quoting the Racine Report [no longer online].
He’d appeared, “before more than 100 seventh- and eight-grade students at Maple Dale School in this northern Milwaukee suburb, said p2pnet, going on »»»
What did he say to them?
Sooner or later, my grandpa got in a lot of trouble, and it was because of me I am here to say it wasn`t worth it.
The MPAA had filed against grandfather Fred Lawrence, 67, who, initially ignored a letter offering to settle the matter out of court.
Offering to settle the matter out of court. It all seems gentlemanly, almost helpful, doesn`t it? But these cynical MPAA `settlement` offers are exactly the same as the RIAA`s — totally self-serving and extortionate.
Rangel, who was then 12, admitted downloading `The Incredibles,` `I, Robot,` `The Grudge` and `The Forgotten` over a peer-to-peer electronic file-sharing network in December 2004, not knowing it was illegal, says the Racine Report, adding:
His appearance at the school was part of an out-of-court settlement Lawrence reached with the film studios last month that included paying them an undisclosed amount.
Rangel was joined at the school by MPAA representatives —-”
—- and Parry Aftab.
Meanwhile, “The company that sells the software insists it is not putting kids’ information at risk, since the program does not record children’s names or addresses,” says AP, “But the software knows how old they are because parents customize its features to be more or less permissive, depending on age.”
Sentry and FamilySafe brands, “include parental-control software such as Sentry Total Family Protection, Sentry Basic, Sentry Lite and FamilySafe (SentryPC is made by a different company and has no ties with EchoMetrix),” says AP, continuing:
“The Lite version is free. Others range from $20 to download and $10 a year for monitoring, to about $48 a year, divided into monthly payments. The same company also offers software under the brands of partner entities, such as AmberWatch Lookout.
“AmberWatch Foundation, a child-protection nonprofit group that licenses its brand to EchoMetrix, said information gathered through the AmberWatch-branded software is not shared with advertisers.”
It also has Aftan pointing out few parents reading fine print before they click to agree, “Unless it’s upfront in neon letters …”
Associated Press – Web-monitoring software gathers data on kid chats, September 5, 2009
p2pnet – MPAA pillories 13-year-old, January 27, 2006
education’ efforts – MPAA wins Wired Kids award, May 26, 2005
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