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Protecting Children, or not.

Many libraries have installed filters – sometimes by legal fiat and sometimes as required by their board policies. Some libraries find themselves put in the position of recommending or researching questions about filtering and child safety software for parents when asked. Apart from my own personal opinion, I think it’s important that we all know the information below:
From Gizmodo:
Child-Safety Software Secretly Records Kids’ IM Conversations, Sells Them to Marketers
From Boing Boing:
“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.”
From the AP:
Web-monitoring software gathers data on kid chats
I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that children’s behaviors are being tracked and used by some marketers but I hope none of you find yourself in the position of having your library’s privacy policy conflict with your library’s choice of filtering provider. Either way, if you find yourself in the position of answering research questions about filtering and child safety software choices, this is important information to know. There are companies that won’t do this and companies that will sell children’s internet experiences.
As for my personal opinion, I am amazed that this is a legal business strategy for some.
Here’s another position for ALA and a number of its units to take a stance on.
Stephen

Posted on: September 9, 2009, 4:53 pm Category: Uncategorized