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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 200013 Find in a Library
Title: Spyware: Shining Light on the Dark Side of Internet Activity
Journal: Law Enforcement Technology  Volume:30  Issue:4  Dated:April 2003  Pages:18-22
Author(s): Greg Gerber
Date Published: April 2003
Page Count: 5
Type: Technical Assistance
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses software that helps ensure online integrity in police departments.
Abstract: There are two types of software to help ensure online integrity: filtering programs and monitoring software. Both run in stealth mode, making the programs invisible to computer users, and require passwords to access log files or change program parameters. Filtering software works best with young children rather than with adults because it actually prevents computer users from accessing specific Web sites. Filters can be thwarted by anyone with moderate computer skills. It is easily defeated because it still allows access to e-mail messages and chat rooms. Monitoring software allows users full access to the Internet and their computers, but the program tracks everything they do and creates log files that store information such as file names, Web sites visited, chat conversations, e-mail messages, and keystrokes. What makes this software so effective is the knowledge that someone might be watching what the users do. Once employees know that they are being monitored, 98 percent of employees won’t violate the company's computer use policy. Privacy advocates are concerned about monitoring software. But administrators have a right to use the software on any computers they own and police departments particularly have a vested interest in ensuring their members are not doing anything illegal or inappropriate. Employees must be aware that the department is using monitoring software. It is often impossible to fully prevent computer users from accidentally accessing sexually explicit Web sites due to the aggressiveness of pornographers. With some monitoring programs, it is easy for supervisors to determine that a visit was accidental. Some police departments demonstrate monitoring software when they teach Internet safety classes to parents and community organizations. Monitoring software can be used to monitor sex offenders. Internet monitoring software is an effective and inexpensive tool for supervisors to maintain the online integrity of their staff.
Main Term(s): Computer crime prevention measures; Computer software
Index Term(s): Computer privacy and security; Computer program models; Crime Control Programs; Crime prevention measures; Deterrence; Physical crime prevention
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