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DoD Pulls Software Collecting Data on Children

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 12 comments

The Department of Defense has to pull software from its online store that collects and sells information on children.

Whoops! The Department of Defense was forced to pull a parental control product from its online store because the software collected and sold private data--information on children specifically--on behalf of the developer. The DoD's online store serves military families, but was unaware that Echometrix's FamilySafe parental control software violated the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act when it went on sale in September.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) filed a complaint (PDF) to the Federal Trade Commission on behalf of the DoD, reporting that the software collects personal information from children and provides the data to third parties "for market intelligence purposes."

According to CNET, Echometrix is denying the allegations. "During the installation process we fully disclose all of Family Safe's procedures and clearly display an opt-out button for all anonymous aggregate data sharing in our (EULA) End User License Agreement," the company said in an email.

But Kimberly Nguyen, the EPIC lawyer who is handling the case, isn't buying the excuse. She said that the software collects data containing IM screen names that can be linked to e-mail addresses among other sensitive information. "The collection of children's data raises serious privacy concerns, and even the Defense Department realizes that," Nguyen said.

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  • 13 Hide
    ssalim , December 4, 2009 8:42 PM
    Bad developers, sit on the corner.
Other Comments
  • 13 Hide
    ssalim , December 4, 2009 8:42 PM
    Bad developers, sit on the corner.
  • 0 Hide
    skit75 , December 4, 2009 9:10 PM
    "The collection of AAFES customer information (personal or otherwise) for any other purpose than to provide quality customer service is prohibited" by the agreement retailers sign to sell products through the AAFES site...

    Under this agreement, I would say including the extra spyware as an opt-in check box would be "ballsy" but, to include the spyware in the installation and use an opt-out check box is really asking for trouble IMO under those pre-existing terms.
  • -6 Hide
    doc70 , December 4, 2009 9:19 PM
    Not unexpected from DoD. I have mentioned several times on this forum the natural "inclination" of the govt. to collect data on it's citizens, most of the time when they're completely unaware of that.
    DoD collects the data to mine for potential future soldiers and this is only one way of doing that. How, for instance, do you explain that when your kid is at high-school age you suddenly start receiving adds from the Army, etc., when they weren't invited at the birthday party?

    "During the installation process we fully disclose all of Family Safe's procedures and clearly display an opt-out button for all anonymous aggregate data sharing
    in our (EULA) End User License Agreement," the company said in an email."

    How many people fully - or even partially - read EULA's? Hiding behind that EULA is bull$hit and I hope they get hammered for that.

    But, who cares? It's only money out of our pockets that get spent on all that...
  • 2 Hide
    megamanx00 , December 4, 2009 9:23 PM
    Now that's messed up.
  • 1 Hide
    ravewulf , December 4, 2009 10:42 PM
    doc70Not unexpected from DoD. I have mentioned several times on this forum the natural "inclination" of the govt. to collect data on it's citizens, most of the time when they're completely unaware of that.DoD collects the data to mine for potential future soldiers and this is only one way of doing that. How, for instance, do you explain that when your kid is at high-school age you suddenly start receiving adds from the Army, etc., when they weren't invited at the birthday party?


    It's called "they mail everyone when they come of age". They stop if you tell them to. Take your conspiracy theories elsewhere.
  • 2 Hide
    bgd73 , December 4, 2009 11:18 PM
    doc70 needs thorozene.
  • -1 Hide
    Manos , December 4, 2009 11:48 PM
    Sure... The DoD had no clue. Just about as much sa when they send scouts to school from the army etc. They are not even aware of whats going on Im sure about it I tell you.
  • 0 Hide
    buwish , December 5, 2009 1:05 AM
    Who knew that the DoD could overlook something...
  • 0 Hide
    sailfish , December 5, 2009 4:28 PM
    Echometrix = FAIL!
  • 0 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , December 6, 2009 11:33 AM
    Hmmmm...I guess collecting and seeling personal information is seen as a supplemental revenue source. It's been going on for quite a long time.
  • 0 Hide
    okibrian , December 7, 2009 4:25 AM
    Funny, I did not realize the DoD ran online stores. Are you talking about AAFES or NEX or MCX? They are not DoD run, they are ran by civilian NAF hires that work on base. They have exclusivity rights to own and operate exchange installations on base (Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines), but they are not like a GSA installation that is completely DoD operated.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , March 3, 2010 7:33 AM
    The Pentagon’s fiscal 2011 budget continues the Obama administration’s drive to get “the most bang for the buck” by terminating seven major weapons programs and shifting resources to focus on emerging threats.
    Texas holdem spielen
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