In-depth analysis of the usage of anti-pornography apps to limit users’ access to adult content on their phones and other devices. Platforms like Covenant Eyes, which are marketed as “accountability apps,” can track everything a user does on their device. This is from browsing the internet, viewing content, and detecting pornographic content. They can also gather internet histories, screenshots, and reports on web activity.
The data is transferred to an “accountability partner”, and such monitoring software is popular among parents and churches. Especially the ones who want to keep an eye on their children or worshippers.
Such surveillance undoubtedly raises privacy concerns, and Google discovered at least two of the top accountability applications. According to a Covenant Eyes spokesman, the firm is “concerned” about “people being observed without sufficient authorization”. Hence, it discourages the app’s use in power imbalanced relationships. It further states that “accountability connections are better suited between people who already know and want the best for one another, such as close personal friends and family members.”
However, researchers discovered that these apps are utilizing Android’s accessibility rights. So that they can gather more information about pornographic content. As well as effectively tracking everything the user does on their phone. Additionally, the massive amount of data being collected raises concerns about how it will be handled, and protected and what can happen if it falls into the wrong hands.
According to spokeswoman Danielle Cohen, “Google Play allows for the use of the Accessibility API in various applications. However, in order to claim to be accessibility tools, a service must be created to assist persons with disabilities in using technology. Google suspended Covenant Eyes and Accountable2You from the Google Play store after learning that the apps were abusing accessibility permissions. However, both apps are still accessible on iOS because it is unknown whether the apps are abusing Apple’s permissions.
A follow-up on the Optus data hack
This week, a hack on Australian wireless provider Optus led to the compromise of user data. “The OAIC will engage with Optus to ensure compliance with our customary process’s provisions of the Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) programme.” This is a statement by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. According to the Guardian, customers dating as far back as 2017 were harmed. Even though Optus claims to be still unaware of how many people were affected.
According to CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin, the worst-case scenario is that the issue affected all Optus’s subscribers or about 9.8 million people. The attackers are thought to have exploited a vulnerability in an application programming interface (API). However, Optus has yet to confirm this, an investigation led by the Australian federal police. And the Australian Cyber Security Center is still ongoing. On social media, some Optus customers have expressed irritation over what they perceive to be a lack of clarification.
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