Earlier this week, I highlighted top-notch research and reporting by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which exposed the true nature of ComputerCOP: The software, which has been distributed by 245 law enforcement agencies in 35 states, is marketed as "Internet safety software" for parents to keep tabs on their kids, when in fact, ComputerCOP is spyware that lacks basic safety features.
The software features a "'keylogger,' that could place a family's personal information at extreme risk by transmitting what a user types 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," the EFF explains. While it's marketed to parents to watch their kids, it can easily be abused by an ill-intentioned spouse, co-worker, or roommate to stalk someone and steal their information.
Whatever, says Limestone, Alabama Sheriff Mike Blakely who on the same day the EFF exposed the glitchy, dangerous product announced that his department would begin distributing it. He tells a local news station that "he stands behind it 100 percent" and if you don't, you're a scumbag.
Blakely went right for the ad hominem, calling the EFF an "ultra-liberal organization that is not in any way credible on this." In light of the EFF's lawsuits against the U.S. government for surveilling the American public, and the organization's unwavering criticism of the Obama administration and anti-privacy Democrats like Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the only appropriate response: LOL.
Blakely doesn't stop there. "They're more interested in protecting predators and pedophiles than in protecting our children."
Except that the EFF wants to stop ComputerCOP because it is a great tool for predators. "When a child with ComputerCOP installed on their laptop connects to public Wi-Fi, any sexual predator, identity thief, or bully with freely available packet-sniffing software can grab those key logs right out of the air," the organization states.
The sheriff wades further into unfamiliar waters, saying, "We have had the key logger checked out with our IT people. They have run it on our computer system. There is no malware."
Techdirt's Mike Masnick has to re-raise the EFF's red flag: "A keylogger is malware. … And the fact that this malware happens to pass unencrypted text, including passwords and credit card numbers, over the internet makes it really, really bad."
No matter. You probably support mass murderers, you sicko, if you buy into any of that mumbo jumbo. Insists Blakely, "There are some parents out in Columbine, Colorado, if they had this kind of software, things would have turned out differently."