ContentWatch Security Blog

Thu

May 19, '11

A few recent articles discuss CTIA's call for a unified "rating" system for mobile apps. Note: CTIA is the Cellular Telecommunications Internet Association, a nonprofit that includes wireless carriers and suppliers of wireless data products and services.  The articles are informative and interesting but the rating system is still in discussion phase.

Rating systems are a practical method to help set expectations. Most are familiar with the Motion Picture Association of America's rating system for movies (NR, R, PG-13, PG, and G) and perhaps somewhat less familiar with the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) system of rating video games. 

The mobile app rating initiative is a noble venture. Parents would be enabled to make educated decisions about the apps their children want. Even though most app markets have a version of content ratings, the system needs improvement. For example, in the Android market, you won't see a content rating until you tap the “More drop-down box to get a complete description of the app. Unless a parent is conscious of its location, a rating will go unnoticed. I wasn't even aware of these ratings until I read an article discussing the new system.  I consider myself fairly informed, too.

The nice thing about the MPAA and ESRB is that when kids go get to a point of sale at the movie theater or retail store, they should be stopped by the clerk prior to purchasing mature content.  In the world of smartphones and tablets, however, there is no one waiting at checkout asking for proof of age.

More important is the issue that unless app management software is installed on a smartphone, a parent won't truly know what apps are installed. Consumers are likely to revolt if asked to indicate their age somehow on their device. This is due to privacy concerns, and even recent lawsuits against Google and Apple regarding location tracking.

A unified rating system would be well received but given the complexity of enforcing the rules, it would seem impossible to protect identities and block mature content without the aid of some type of smartphone app manager.  An app manager should be able to block downloads of mature applications, alert parents when downloads have been attempted, and describe the downloaded content.

I hope the CTIA is able to introduce a well designed rating system, but I also think it's important for consumers to recognize that it's only one tool in an overall solution. Without an app manager, kids will sneak past faster than they do at the movie theater.

Thu

Feb 23, '12

In the time it takes you to read this, two laptops will have been stolen. Maybe more if you read slowly.  As much as we'd like to discuss crime rates, there's not much we can do when our devices are stolen. We can file a police report, hope for the best, and cringe knowing that the thief now has access to all of our valuable data, right? No. We can do more.

Mon

Apr 7, '14

Have you ever walked into a co-worker’s office to discuss something and, as you approach, you catch a glimpse at the computer screen and see that he is viewing pornography?  Upon realizing this, your colleague will probably try to cover it up…but it’s too late. 

Tue

May 6, '14

Pornhub, the world’s largest pornographic video sharing website, recently released some staggering statistics about pornography usage around the world. In 2013, 14.7 billion people visited their website, about 1.68 million per hour. Pornhub has become one of the prime destinations for pornography viewers.

Tue

Feb 21, '12

Are your employees productive in the workplace?  A police chief in Vancouver, Canada discovered that even in his own police department he had to raise this question.

Thu

Mar 24, '11

Well, I've spent the week at CTIA Wireless in Orlando showing off our newest beta versions of our Net Nanny Mobile and CP Pro Mobile products with some revolutionary technology for Android (we also have an iPhone version coming out this Summer).

Traffic has been steady as people (especially at CTIA, the world's largest wireless technology conference) are very interested in protecting smartphones and tablets. We've done a LOT of demos.

And one demo in particular paid extra dividends.

Laptop Magazine gave us their Best Business App award over everything shown at CTIA for the soon to be released ContentProtect Professional for Android.

 Our CEO Russ Warner holding the the Best Business App award

Yay us.

No, really, we are very proud of the award, and we are very excited about the direction we are going with our Mobile product line, especially on Android and iOS (iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch). Expect to see cool stuff coming out from ContentWatch in 2011 for both business customers and home users. We are committed to protecting people on the Internet, whether they surf from a PC, Mac, or from a smartphone or tablet.

Stay tuned for even better things.