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[ NNSquad ] ComputerCOP: the dubious "Internet Safety Software" given to US families

ComputerCOP: the dubious "Internet Safety Software" given to US families

(Ars): http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/10/computercop-the-dubious-internet-safety-software-given-to-families-nationwide/

     Police chiefs, sheriffs, and district attorneys have handed out
     hundreds of thousands of copies of the disc to parents for free at
     schools, libraries, and community events, usually as a part of an
     "Internet Safety" outreach initiative. (You can see the long list of
     ComputerCOP outlets here.) The packaging typically features the
     agency's official seal and the chief's portrait, with a signed message
     warning of the "dark and dangerous off-ramps" of the Internet.  As
     official as it looks, ComputerCOP is actually just spyware, generally
     bought in bulk from a New York company that appears to do nothing but
     market this software to local government agencies using shady
     information.  The way ComputerCOP works is neither safe nor secure. It
     isn't particularly effective either, except for generating positive PR
     for the law enforcement agencies distributing it. As security software
     goes, we observed a product with a keystroke-capturing function, also
     called a "keylogger," that could place a family's personal information
     at extreme risk by transmitting those keystoke logs over the Internet
     to third-party servers without encryption. That means many versions of
     ComputerCOP leave children (and their parents, guests, friends, and
     anyone using the affected computer) exposed to the same predators,
     identity thieves, and bullies that police claim the software protects
     against.  Furthermore, by providing a free keylogging
     program--software that operates without even the most basic security
     safeguards--law enforcement agencies are passing around what amounts
     to a spying tool that could easily be abused by people who want to
     snoop on spouses, roommates, or co-workers.

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Lauren Weinstein (lauren@vortex.com): http://www.vortex.com/lauren 
 - Network Neutrality Squad: http://www.nnsquad.org 
 - PRIVACY Forum: http://www.vortex.com/privacy-info
Co-Founder: People For Internet Responsibility: http://www.pfir.org/pfir-info
Member: ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy
I am a consultant to Google -- I speak only for myself, not for them.
Lauren's Blog: http://lauren.vortex.com
Google+: http://google.com/+LaurenWeinstein 
Twitter: http://twitter.com/laurenweinstein
Tel: +1 (818) 225-2800 / Skype: vortex.com
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