iPhone Browser should have a FILTER!!

  • 8
  • Idea
  • Updated 7 years ago
  • Planned
Apparently, you haven't received a high demand for a filtered browser app for the iPhone or other Smartphones. I'm of the opinion that accountability isn't enough and that filtering is absolutely necessary - why put myself or others in a situation where we can fail rather than removing the temptation altogether? Also, accountability apps don't help with children who might stumble accross something by mistake.

Regardless, the reason there might not have been the demand in the past was because of the bugs that caused repeated crashes and very slow browsing speed. However, if your app has improved, then a filtered app would be a very welcome addition.
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Michael Sherick

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  • frustrated

Posted 9 years ago

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Justin Reese

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Just casting my vote here, but if CE does release a filtered browser, I hope it's separate from the current one. I personally prefer accountability only, to prevent me from accidentally being blocked from something that only *seems* bad (medical sites, etc.).

Not discounting some users' needs for a filter, just saying I'd prefer it be a separate app!
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Dane

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I agree with Michael. A filter is needed for those of us who desire to have a safety barrier.

Also, it would be nice if Covenant Eyes provided a YouTube app that filters the junk on YouTube.
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Trevor Corbin

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Hello Michael, Justin, and Dane,

Thank you very much for your input on this subject. We have not received many requests thus far for filtering in the Covenant Eyes App for Apple devices, but I am glad to hear your feedback.

To my knowledge, there are not currently plans to add filtering to our app. However, increased demand can translate into increased priority. I will be glad to pass this feedback along and I will be watching this thread closely for further requests!

Best regards,

Trevor Corbin
Customer Support Lead
Covenant Eyes
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Mrfrd

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Yes, I also would like to see a filter on covenant eyes.
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Ted Budd

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agreed! Filter needed, but in a separate app.

Thanks
Long Time CE User
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Dave Caswell, Developer

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In the limited exploration I've done into adding filtering to the iPhone app, the thought has been that it would be one application that would either provide accountability service, filtering service, or both, depending on which services the user signing in subscribes to, much like our windows client currently operates.
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Justin Reese

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I, too, would prefer this way. While I understand the need some have for filtering, I don't want it; the risk of false positives can be detrimental to my job (web developer). Would prefer the app know and apply only the services being paid for.
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Andrew

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I think there's another compelling reason to provide a filter. Because the CE app has a rating of 17+ (because it allows any site), this forces users to turn off the app store entirely. Which means that all manner of safe and enjoyable apps are cut from the iPhone experience.

But if the CE browser blocked 17+ sites (the browser already knows and displays this), the CE app could presumably have a 12+ or lower rating. iPhone users could then turn the app store back on - and actually use and enjoy the other safe apps on their iPhone - by blocking only the 17+ and/or 12+ apps:

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Cr@ig

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I think this is the way to go. Good idea.
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Amy Thompson

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I agree with this as well. Plus, the fact that we MUST set the rating at 17+ in order to have CE means that we must allow everything...thus opening our children up to more dangers than they would have otherwise been subject to.
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IT2428

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I agree with you, Micheal, there is a great need for a mobile phone filter. If you constantly have to "weed" through all the junk (ads, pop ups, etc.) on legit sites it can finally desensitise us to the bad influence. I want to be completely accountable but I also want to do what Proverbs 4:15 teaches... "Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it..."

Thanks!
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Mike

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I agree, here's my suggestion:
I think you guys should create a filtered CE Browser because it would be more effective. The current one you have now is great but people can still watch porn on it and can download a different browser from the App store and still access porn sites. What needs to happen all together is have an accountability partner disable Safari, and all Age 17+ apps to prevent looking at questionable sites. Having an Age 12+ CE filtered browser allows people to have a browser and you guys can allow block lists and white lists, record visited sites like regular CE on a computer .
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andrew

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Yes please! For me it is useless without a filter. I actually thought there was a filter included with the browser and was sadly mistaken. CE, you need to add this as an option. It is foolish to offer the option for computers and not mobile devices when the two are becoming very much the same thing.
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Kendrick Jackson

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Definitely. I constantly stumble and find new loop holes to fool the accountability reports, especially on android.
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Kendrick Jackson

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Filter is a must for both iphone and android. For android, CE is literally almost useless. Unfortunately I'm planning on trading out my evo.
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Cr@ig

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I would like to see a filter as well.
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Amy Thompson

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Another vote for a filter!
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incubusboi

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I also vote for a filter for iPhone.
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Smike Stoltzfus

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I vote for a filter with the accountability!!
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Adam S

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A month or two ago, I had to throw away my smartphone because there's no working filtering solution available - on any platform. Smartphones for me just aren't worth it.

If Covenant Eyes did make a filter - on any mobile platform - I'd be able to purchase another smartphone.
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Alaina

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Hey guys, just wanted to let you know that this is in the works. The last I heard we are looking at mid-May for a release. We'll definitely make sure to come on here and announce it when we do.
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Alaina

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Andrew

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Hi Alaina,

Thanks for this - this is good news. It appears, however, the the design for the app is that filtering is optional and allows the user to set their own age appropriateness and, while this is useful, it won't change Apple's rating for the CE app. Apple's rating for the app will remain at 17+, meaning that iPhone owners using CE won't be able to filter apps by Apple's age rating - they'll have to turn off the ability to install all apps, even the harmless ones.

I suspect that the only way to get around this is for CE to launch a separate app in which filtering is compulsory with the filter sensitivity fixed to a certain CE age limit, one that allows Apple to give this other CE app a lower age rating.

Can you please discuss that with the CE team?

Thanks,
Andrew
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Andrew

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Hi Alaina,

Thanks for this - this is good news. It appears, however, the the design for the app is that filtering is optional and allows the user to set their own age appropriateness and, while this is useful, it won't change Apple's rating for the CE app. Apple's rating for the app will remain at 17+, meaning that iPhone owners using CE won't be able to filter apps by Apple's age rating - they'll have to turn off the ability to install all apps, even the harmless ones.

I suspect that the only way to get around this is for CE to launch a separate app in which filtering is compulsory with the filter sensitivity fixed to a certain CE age limit, one that allows Apple to give this other CE app a lower age rating.

Can you please discuss that with the CE team?

Thanks,
Andrew
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Alaina

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Thanks, Andrew! I've passed it on to the team who is working on this.
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Patrick Smith, Alum

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Andrew et al,

I thought I'd chime in briefly to make sure we're clearly presenting what we do/don't do. The Covenant Eyes filter service is currently available on Windows and Mac. Soon, as Alaina pointed out, we'll release filtering for iOS as well. A member will only be bound by filter settings on his iOS device if his username already has the filter service.

The largest segment of our customer-base has accountability only. Another segment of our customers has both services: accountability and filtering. Then, there are some who have filtering only. By its nature, then, filtering is elective. However, once filtering is enabled, a member designates a filter guardian who maintains control of filter settings. As a result, the degree to which an end user has control over his own filter settings is largely dependent upon the way the account is set up.

This is a similar structure to most other filtered browsers for iOS, most of which are rated 4+ (e.g. Mobicip & Baracuda). We aren't even requesting a 4+ rating from Apple, however, we do expect a reduction in the app rating (we're hopefully anticipating 9+).

As it relates to locking down other apps:
In the event that we get what we expect on the app rating (9+),unfortunately you're not safe simply by locking down all apps 12+. There are a number of 4+ apps with built-in browsers (e.g. ESV app). Because of things like this, it is our recommendation that a Covenant Eyes iOS user turns off installing apps through restrictions. We're keenly aware of the inconvenience of this and wish iOS didn't mandate we run in this fashion. As it stands presently, though, turning off installing apps is the safest way to set things up on your iOS device.

Thanks,
Patrick
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Justin Reese

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Patrick, excellent description of the issue. I considered mentioning that as well: that restricting to even 4+ apps is no guarantee, since many 4+ apps have either unrestricted web views or common-sense back doors for finding porn. (It may not still be, but when released the official Twitter app was 4+.)

I found the only sure-fire way to keep the iPhone locked down was to accept a massive number of feature reductions:

1. Disable built-in apps with obvious access (Safari, YouTube)
2. Remove third-party apps with web views (Instapaper, alternative browsers) or obvious back doors (Twitter, Instagram, Flickr)
3. Have an accountability partner disable app installation
4. When you need to run app updates or absolutely need to install a new app, have your accountability partner from #3 enable it and sit there with you while you do what you need to, and be honest with them about the capabilities of the app (see #2)

Some people have a hard time accepting that there's no other way, but truly: there's no other way. Apple made a wise design decision with iOS that increases security and stability of the platform but has the unfortunate side effect of preventing the sort of shims that Covenant Eyes relies on in the desktop world.

Anyway. Great explanation and I, at least, understand entirely the limitations you're up against. Thanks for the work.
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Patrick Smith, Alum

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Thanks, Justin. We DESPERATELY want to deliver thorough-but-unobtrusive services to our customers and work diligently to that end. As someone who benefited immeasurably from Covenant Eyes for years prior to seeking employment here, I keenly know the need.

You've very practically outlined the steps above. Thank you.
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Andrew

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Thanks Patrick (and Alaina and Justin) - that makes a lot of sense. I appreciate your time in explaining it.
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Patrick Smith, Alum

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Hi guys,
I wanted to give you all a quick heads up that CE filtering is now available on iOS. The update is presently available in the app store. Please note, filtering will only be active on your Covenant Eyes iOS browser if your CE username has the filtering service. Therefore, those of you who only have the accountability service will not be impacted at all by the capacity for filtering. There are a couple of changes in this update that will deliver value to accountability users as well, so head over to the app store and update as you're able.
Thanks,
Patrick