Cease and Desist… tell this little girl that!

Written by  on February 24, 2005 

As a member of CastleCops, I have been following along with the Cease and Desist subject regarding the iSearch toolbar and iDownload. As the far majority of us are everyday average computer users, I have to relate the following story from a friend as it shows just how easily anyone of us can be caught, through no fault of our own but maybe a lack of knowledge.

Just who has the responsibility to allow the future use of our computers, as iSearch gives themselves after a novice downloads the toolbar… This is just one story about what can happen to you if you have iSearch toolbar on your computer… no matter what way you look at it, its extreme and nasty. There is no control of content and children can get hurt, emotionally.

In these times where we are constantly reminded of crimes against children, these perpetrators of advertisements have a lot to answer for. For our children’s sake let’s stop this happening….

The letter starts…

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To whom it may concern.

Firstly let me tell you a little about myself. I am a self taught computer user. I would tend to think of myself as someone who knows how to use my computer but I am hardly “savvy” with the latest developments on the internet.

For work I use a computer to send emails. I have no further use of a computer for work.

Recently I have been getting troubled on my computer, while helping my daughter who is twelve years old, search for some interesting facts regarding girl’s schools and whether girls should be able to wear bikinis at the school swimming sports. She is doing this as a project to find if girls in bikinis do actually swim faster. For my part, I can’t think why anyone would want to study this, but she is my daughter and I will support her in her endeavors.

Recently my home computer has been popping up windows telling me to buy this or that and on following this up, my 14 year old son said that he had been downloading “stuff” It appears that your program is the “stuff” my son has downloaded onto my computer.

This came to a head today, when my daughter was confronted with xxx sites, complete nudity and what can only be described as “a girl enjoying the company of a farm animal”

Now I must protest. This is certainly of no help to her project and must infringe upon her rights as a minor to search the internet in a safe and secure way for information on her project. She has now been asking me about this farm animal and I am totally perplexed as to what to say. Can you please tell me, how do I explain this to my twelve year old daughter?

I had made the Google Search safe by adjusting some preferences but these have now gone by the wayside. I went to your website for help and on reading your terms of use policy I am abhorred to read the following

4. Children”s Privacy Policy and Use – The Software is not directed to children. Because iSearch cannot determine with any degree of certainty whether a child is using a computer at a given time, this “Children”s Privacy Policy and Use” explains iSearch’s practices regarding the collection and use of personally identifiable and non-personally identifiable information from children under the age of thirteen and provides important information regarding your rights under federal law with respect to such information. iSearch does not knowingly collect personally identifiable information from children under the age of thirteen. If iSearch becomes aware that it has inadvertently received personally identifiable information and/or data from a user under the age of thirteen, iSearch will delete such past data from its records and will cease to collect any new data from that computer, including any non-personally identifiable data.

Since iSearch does not knowingly collect any personally identifiable information from children under the age of thirteen, iSearch also does not knowingly distribute such information to third parties. Further, because iSearch does not knowingly collect any personally identifiable information from children under the age of thirteen, it does not condition the participation in online activities of a child under thirteen on providing personally identifiable information.

What concerns me is the “If iSearch becomes aware that it has inadvertently received personally identifiable information and/or data from a user under the age of thirteen, iSearch will delete such past data from its records and will cease to collect any new data from that computer”

If I am to understand this right, you are collecting such data ‘inadvertently’ so that means that you are also collecting data about myself, my family and other users of this computer and this may be done under the guise of being ‘inadvertent’ and this information is stored until I complain and then you will only remove the data that relates to my 12 year old daughter (as she is the only one under 13 that uses this computer)

This is turning into a can of worms. A few days ago, I was helping my daughter with a school project and now I find I am the center of a information gathering exercise by your company to pass on to advertisers and I cannot do anything about it as my 14 year old son downloaded “stuff” onto my computer. What’s more, my computer is continually being provided with hardcore sex websites of nudity and farm animals that I have no way of removing. I went to my computers “add/remove programs” and your program is not listed

I must stress that I am not a not an expert in this area but I must protect my family from your incessant advertisements on my computer. They are rude, crude and totally uncalled for.

Now you say that you are not spyware and yet your terms say that you may ‘inadvertently’ collect information. This, to my way of thinking, is spying. What is more, you can choose when, where, how and what you may download onto my computer because my 14 year old son made an uninformed decision.

As you do not obviously have children of your own, all I can think is that you have no moral fiber and people such as myself are just pawns for you to abuse

I will pass this on to some one I think can help

Yours faithfully…

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So, I for one, will make sure that any time that isearch or idownload are mentioned, that I will let those concerned know that, by any form or fashion, this application IS Spyware, Malware any-ware except good ware.

As a responsible computer user, “My friend got caught” and now, having been caught, it is considered totally his fault and he has no future control on what is downloaded onto his computer, if isearch thinks it is what he needs… surely they must know… they collect enough data about him. He is a farmer, after all, and his daughter now has a new view on what some animals are used for.

iSearch or iDownload or whoever you are, I am totally disgusted.

Regards… Bill Gray

Category : Information