EPIC filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against Echometrix, the developers of parental control software that monitors children’s online activity. Echometrix analyzes the information collected from children and sells the data to third parties for market-intelligence research. The EPIC complaint alleges that Echometrix engages in unfair and deceptive trade practices by representing that the software protects children online while simultaneously collecting and disclosing information about children’s online activity. The complaint further alleges that Echometrix’s practices violate the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act by collecting and disclosing information from children under the age of 13. The EPIC complaint asks the FTC to stop these practices, seek compensation for victims, and ensure that Echometrix’s collection and disclosure practices comply with COPPA.
From the complaint:
Echometrix, Inc., formerly SearchHelp Inc., develops software that allegedly provides parents with “real-time online protection of their children.” Echometrix brands include FamilySafe Parental Control products (www.familysafesolutions.net) and Sentry Parental Control products (www.sentryparentalcontrol.com). Echometrix also offers technology to corporations seeking to analyze children’s online behavior. The technology is called PULSE, a software engine that reads and analyzes digital content extracted from online conversations and activity of teenagers and children in real time. The software is available through subscription at Echometrix’s website.
The full complaint is available here (pdf).
Echometrix did not reply to e-mail requests for a statement reacting to the complaint by the time of this publication.