Switch User vs Sign Out

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This item has applied to mobile devices for awhile, and was recently incorporated into our software for Windows computers. This option has not yet been incorporated into Covenant Eyes®  for Mac.

In order to provide more thorough accountability, we replaced the former option to 'Sign Out' with 'Switch User'.

For people sharing a device, the Switch User option 1) guarantees that someone will be logged in and 2) still provides a way for different  members to isolate their activity when using a shared device.

In the past, when someone was done browsing the web, he could sign out of the Covenant Eyes software. Because signing out would disable the connection to the internet, that condition would force the next person using the device to sign in with his own Covenant Eyes username. The downside of the Sign In/Out option occurred if/when the software didn't actually require someone to sign in; he could browse the internet with no accountability.

Some people love it, some people don't. Please feel to chime in with feedback or suggestions!

Robert
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Robert B, Official Rep

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Posted 3 months ago

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eric.m.durbin

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I find this new Switch User more problematic than the Sign Out. My family of 7 shares a computer in our living room. If I am logged in as a parent, I cannot log out now. So my 8 year old starts browsing the internet with filters that are too mature and reporting that links to me instead of her report. If I see her start to use the computer I can remind her to switch, but it really limits the accountability in my experience.
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Robert B, Official Rep

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Eric,

I appreciate you posting here and have conveyed your feedback. I'll share with you something that my boss wrote, just to provide some technical details and an alternative. Thanks again for posting!

Robert

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The rationale: Historically, Covenant Eyes’ software has operated in what's called the 'communications stack' on your devices. We watch and report on browser traffic. That has served us well for many years, but it has two major problems in the modern era. 

One: the age of the browser is on the decline. Apps are on the rise, even on desktops/laptops. It's no longer adequate for us simply to report browser traffic. This is why we're making the switch to Screen Accountability. Screen Accountability allows us to monitor anything that appears on the screen--not just browser traffic. 

Two: Sitting in the communications stack, monitoring web traffic, and reporting about it makes us look a lot like spyware. As a result, antivirus software does not like us! Sometimes after an antivirus software performs an update, Covenant Eyes and your antivirus software get in an arm wrestling match--locking up the ability to get online.These lead to long, tech-intensive trouble shooting sessions. It also occasionally introduces complexities at certain hot spots that require authentication (think of a hotel wifi login). In those cases, we get calls from customers traveling for work. They need CE's protection, but they're unable to get online at the hotel without calling our Customer Service team or uninstalling the software. Not good. 

So, what's this got to do with switch user vs login/logout? To prevent the frustrations mentioned above, we needed our software to operate outside of the communications stack. Unfortunately, that means we’re no longer in a position to ‘lock the Internet’ the way we did previously. This means that logging out of Covenant Eyes and forcing the next user of the device to login before using the Internet isn’t available to us. 

What’s the alternative, then?

Windows computers allow the administrative user to create user profiles on the computer. Mac computers also have this ability. Say you have a Jack, Calvin, and Danny who all use the computer. If you create a unique user profile for each of them, you can set up the Covenant Eyes software on Jack’s user profile to log Jack in automatically. Likewise with Calvin’s and Danny’s profiles respectively. 

We know that's not an ideal solution for folks who previously used Covenant Eyes to govern access to the Internet, but it is, at least, a stopgap measure for you. I hope that's helpful to give some background.