Why Everyone Needs an Internet Content Filter

Internet content management software, better known as “filters”, “blockers” or “parental controls”, has been around since the mid 1990’s when it first became possible for every-day people to get online. Traditionally, these types of products have always been targeted towards families, schools, and libraries – wherever children and teens have access to the internet. Back in those days the internet was still new. All of the sudden, anyone could publish anything. That included pornography and other objectionable material, and internet filters were designed to help parents and educators keep harmful material away from minors. People were outraged at the types of material available online and congress stepped in to pass numerous laws to protect the children. They didn’t work. Congress could never keep ahead of the technology and never will. “Internet filters” became the only real line of defense.

Much has changed over the years. The outrage over pornography has largely disappeared and most parents have come to terms with the easy availability of adult content online. Many parents still use internet filtering tools ranging from content managers to complicated child spy systems, but many don’t. Many of these systems require complicated software installations and cloud accounts with annual fees and are simply too cumbersome and expensive. But whatever parents decide the need to do, there are options available.

Commercialism Cannibalizes Content

What parents and other adults are missing is how content management can benefit them. Get any group of people together with their smartphones and tablets, and they will all complain about slow loading pages and ads popping up and reformatting their screens while they are attempting to read something. Almost everyone has received a newsletter, or visited a popular website and been presented with ads with disgusting images or content totally inappropriate for the the content you are looking at. Why is that? It is because publishers rent out space to ad companies and have little or no control what is displayed there.

Sometimes Advertising Crosses the Line

Kim Komando is a radio talk show host that has a weekly radio show that focuses on computers and technology. She’s a very nice person and helps a lot of callers with questions about technology and provides a great service. We’ve been big fans of hers over the years, but she has become a marketing queen, Her newsletters are mostly ads and she apparently has little control over what ads appear. On one occasion, a fairly large ad was a closeup of an open mouth full of rotten, diseased teeth. Who wants to look a that? One recent ad was promoting “legal” anti-anxiety drugs that are better than their name-brand prescription counterparts. Other ads are simply inappropriate for the content, low budget, and even scammy considering her honest and friendly image.

She’s not alone. Many popular and normally useful newsletters and websites display these same types of ads and we just have to put up with it. Here’s the problem. Not only do we have to look at these kinds of ads, the actual company that created the ads knows that we did. Those ads don’t come from the publishers website, they are pulled in from the advertisers servers, and they track us. In essence, you just visited a site you didn’t choose to visit, have no reason to trust, and they now know details about you, collected without your permission. That is called “tracking”, and it’s big business.¬†Most of us realize that blogs and websites don’t pay for themselves. Publishers need to monetize these sites so that they can earn a living. We are generally willing to accept some advertising in return for free content. But a lot of ads are no longer simply product promotions. They are invasive, inappropriate, and sometimes even offensive.

When Tracking Becomes Stalking

Modern households and offices typically have broadband internet access with WiFi and users may use a variety of devices including computers, smartphones, tablets, cameras, TV’s, set top boxes, etc. The list of internet enabled devices is growing every day. Data is entering and leaving your network constantly whether you are actively using a device or not. Computers, smartphones and other devices are checking for updates, messages, and notifications all the time. They are sending information about your devices for legitimate purposes, and sometimes sending information that you wouldn’t approve of. If you knew.

Advertisers have completely infiltrated your web browsing and email reading. Their success has led to more and more intrusions. Tracking is now performed whether ads are being displayed or now. Some of is is innocent and, like the ubiquitous Google Analytics, is used so website operators can see how many people are visiting each of their web pages. The vast majority of websites use this and it helps publishers learn what content is most interesting to visitors. But some tracking mechanisms are a little more nefarious. They are used to record your habits. They collect data on what websites you visit, things you click on, and what emails catch your attention. Sometimes they use cookies, and sometimes use what are known as “pixels”. Pixels are images that consist of only one pixel. You can’t see them because they are far too small. But this gives that tracker what information they want to know. They grab your IP address and record it in a database. If they do this enough times on different web pages, they can get a pretty accurate picture of your age, gender, interests, medical conditions, if you are overweight, income level, and on and on. They build profiles on internet users and use them to so you more advertising they think you will click on. And, they will prey on what they perceived as weaknesses. Many of the ads you might see will try to sell you something that gets automatically billed to your credit card every month, like brain pills or weight loss supplements. For them, that is hitting the jackpot.

Take Back Your Browser and Your Privacy at the Same Time

We have always felt that people should be able to just enjoy browsing the internet and reading their email without having to look over their shoulder, and without being bombarded with hundreds of ads from unscrupulous ad producers for products you have never heard of. So, after four years of research, we recently released our first hardware device, CYBERsitter BLACK. We felt there was a need for something different, something that would provide a valuable service to everyone regardless of whether there are children in the home. With the name “CYBERsitter” in the product name, a lot of people night assume it is to manage content available to kids. While it does block adult content if you want, it is a whole lot more than that.

CYBERsitter BLACK works for every device on your network. It simply plugs into your existing router. There is no software to install. In addition to the adult content blocklist, it includes categories for advertising, malware, scam and fraud, tracking, gambling, suspicious sites, online gaming, and a new block list we call “SpamLinks”. The SpamLinks blocklist is compiled every hour and blocks fraudulent and malicious links that are currently being used by email spam crooks. We have a unique data collection system that spans three continents and we get reports in real-time. This helps protect you better then anything else you can do.

CYBERsitter BLACK is extremely fast and will not slow down your internet in any way. Webpages will load faster because we block all the ads and tracking code that typically add several seconds to page load speeds. And, it is virtually invisible to the end user. You only see what you want to see. We have spent an incredible amount of time making sure the end user experience will be better than perfect. Now you can take back control of your internet.

CYBERsitter BLACK is only $149.00 no matter how many computers or other devices you own. There are no extra fees, no subscriptions or annual fees, and blocklist updates are free and updated automatically every single day.

For more information, please visit https://black.27labs.com

 

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