Complete home based accountability

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  • Updated 6 months ago
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I would like it if Covenant Eyes made a device that could just be plugged into my network at home and provide accountability and filtering for all of the devices at my home including Linux machines, web surfing from my Playstation 3, and my kids DS.
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John Lauro

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Posted 8 years ago

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ajaysutton

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That's an outstanding idea John. It wouldn't have to be anything as complicated as one of the Safe Eyes security appliances (I've only set one of those up once, and it was a number of years ago, but it was not simple at all...).

In fact, it could be something as simple as a 3rd party firmware release to go on specific routers. I'm thinking like DD WRT here, or Tomato or something similar. There wouldn't be the cost of hardware involved, and if it's based of something like DD WRT, which is open source, the initial cost could be very inexpensive.

I hope they're able to follow through on this idea.
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Joshua Smith

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You could easily set the proxy settings of the router to go through a CE proxy server and thus filter it that way. But this would only apply to home or locations where you control the router.
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Sparticuz

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I LOVE this idea. Maybe even partner with someone like Linksys about getting this onto routers. DDWRT would be the best way to do it, but it would be relegated to techie crowd.
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Stephen Camp

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Wanted to add my support for this idea, plus an extension: I love Covenant Eyes, but it is available on a limited enough number of devices that I can't use it nearly everywhere I would like to.

I don't know exactly what the issues are with making the software cross-platform, but I can guess two of them: the need for the software to be able to run as a service, which isn't always easy on smartphones and the like, and some very specific networking APIs which generally aren't available at all on smartphones.

The things is, those are both essentially a need for an API. I get that Covenant Eyes has a small enough dev team they don't have the time to work on stuff like that, but I bet there are a lot of Covenant Eyes fans who are decent programmers who would work on the API on their own time. I'm one.

Would y'all be able to do something like release an "interface specification" detailing the API you needed to be able to port Covenant Eyes to a new platform with minimal work on your part? If so, maybe the community can get together and start some software projects - variants on open-source software like DD WRT, Tomato, Android, etc. - that provided that interface, and then we could get Covenant Eyes on more additional devices than y'all have time to do on your own.
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Kenneth Robinson

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Not having a Router biased accountability application is the main reason why I dont have CE. I can think of at least three ways to get around CE, plus having firewall/filtering programs on my work laptop prevents me from doing my job.

Since this would be for the tech geeks. I don't think you need a API, just a custom WRT image and a list of support hardware or just re-sell preloaded routers.

I would be willing to buy another router if needed.
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John, UX Practitioner

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This sounds like it would be a pretty awesome idea. What kind of reports/features would you expect to see on such a device?
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Stephen Camp

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I think most of us would be happy with the standard reporting options that come with a normal CE install...it might be nice to be able to break it out by source host within the home, but I don't know that it would be necessary.

I will note that a router-based solution still has one weakness...if you have physical access to the router and modem, you can typically connect the modem straight to a PC and bypass the router.

The reason I asked for an API, FYI, was that my long-term hopes aren't limited to just routers...I really can't responsibly own a smartphone with internet service until I can run a version of Covenant Eyes on it that is as effective as the PC variant. The current app versions are nice, but I'm too good of a geek to be stymied for very long by a filtering software that requires me to use its browser, when practically every other app has a a built-in browser control for viewing its home website anyway. If I had an API, I could take an open-source smartphone OS like Android and actually write a custom variant that implemented the CE API entirely. Until then, or until y'all do that, I just can't own a smartphone.
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John, UX Practitioner

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That is excellent feedback Stephen, thanks for taking the time to share it.

Android is looking to be the first of our mobile clients that will have device encompassing accountability, with the first of several major improvements in that direction looking to come out in the near (ish) future. (I actually recently did some of the usability work for it's eventual release!) 

We completely agree on the need to deliver a deeper value on ALL mobile devices and as Patrick (our mobile Product Owner) mentioned in another thread we have reached out to Apple in hopes that they allow us access to system level protocols in order to encompass iOS devices. 

As for the router solution, we have internal developers who absolutely love the idea. No way to comment on whether or not it can eventually happen, but we read loud and clear the value of it.

I can't speak to what would be required for someone outside of CE to have access to our API (s) but I will certainly float it as an idea
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Stephen Camp

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Thanks for the good news re Android mobile improvements! That is very encouraging to hear. I'm looking forward to being able to use a smartphone responsibly some day.

Re the router-based software, I should note that the weakness I mentioned is not, in my opinion, a debilitating one. I've locked up my router and modem together in a box with air holes before, and I could do it again. It's not an elegant solution, but it works.

Thanks again for all y'all do to help redeem the Internet for those of us who struggle with the temptations it offers. It is much appreciated. I especially appreciate that you took the time and trouble to put together a piece of software with so few weaknesses, even for a fairly proficient techie like myself.
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LoneStar

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What about a version of DD-WRT that could be flashed that used router-level logging to send data to CE? You wouldn't see users, but you could see the machines. IF there's CE applications on the machines they could send the IP address info to the CE servers and the logs could be roughly reassembled into user information. Not bulletproof, but easy to maintain for a  technical individual and fairly easy to setup given the broad DD-WRT support.
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rx7145 .

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I too think a hardware based solution is the best bet.