Feeds

Child email tracking – Does it work?

Kid-e-mail

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Wouldn't it be good if parents could track who their children are emailing.

That's the promise behind Kid-e-mail which launches as a free service in the UK this November. It says it can offer parents a huge swatch of information on who their children are communicating with.

On its website Kid-e-mail says it can gather some or all of the following information: email address, IP address, date and time of opening, how long the email was open for, the browser used, the language used, client software and ISP etc.

Also "in all but the most extreme cases the unique address of the recipient's machine" will also be provided.

A neat trick, especially when you consider anyone using a dial-up connection almost certainly won't have a unique IP address. Kid-e-mail also says this information is gathered "regardless of the settings on a person's machine".

How?

Milton Keynes-based Advanced Ability, the developer of Kid-e-mail, isn't disclosing how it works. We can't figure out how the technology would work effectively - except in conjunction with a limited number of clients. Anyone help us out, here?

Kid-e-mail routes email through its servers and reformats it as a HTML email with the organisation's logo (which might act as some kind of deterrent) and a call to a perl script - or similar - on Kid-e-mail's server.

This would mean that the ploy would work only if the recipient is using a mail client that defaults to HTML mail and runs scripts without asking you. Yes, take a bow, Microsoft 'Outlook' - this one's for you.

Recipients using many clients, or perish the thought, non-Microsoft machines, will likely go untracked. We infer that this is what Kid-e-mail means when it talks of "deliberate use of sophisticated and expensive software and hardware techniques, which are for the sole intention of 'hiding' a PC when it is on the Internet".

Kid-e-mail is free, so let's remove any thought that Advanced Ability is seeking to profit from parental concern about child abductions in the UK, in the wake of the disappearance (and subsequent murder) of Milly Dowler in March, and the murders of Holly and Jessica last month.

You can also argue that pedoes will be deterred from responding to Kid-e-mail-headed emails, even if the technology is less effective than presented.

However the West Midland Police is endorsing the technology and is conducting trials, the BBC reports . This gives us cause for concern. In the current political climate, we can expect to see more companies seeking to soothe parent's understandable fears with technology of dubious effectiveness. ®

Kid tracking

UK firm creates GPS tracker for kids
Cap Cyborg to chip 11 year old in wake of UK child killings
Kid-chipper Cap Cyborg reported to police, social services

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.