Covenant Eyes captures web content accessed by protected computers, smartphones, or tablets, and then provides a rating for each one. It also captures the time and date when the URL appeared on your computer screen, as well as anything we know about that web content (such as a web page’s title).
On Windows and Mac computers, we monitor all of the web content accessed by the device. That includes websites visited on a browser like Chrome or Safari, and it also includes browsing done in iTunes or on a desktop program like TweetDeck.
On Android™ phones and tablets, we monitor top-level domains accessed across the entire device.
On iPhone®, iPod touch®, and iPad®, we monitor top-level domains accessed across the entire device, as well as web content generated through our Browser app.
Unlike your computer’s browsing history, this activity cannot be erased. All browsing activity is preserved on the Covenant Eyes servers for 30 days.
What Covenant Eyes does not monitor
Covenant Eyes is not a “keylogger,” meaning it does not capture the keystrokes you enter. This means our service does not record sensitive or private information, such as email messages, instant messages, chat conversations, or any information you enter into text fields, whether as innocuous as a Facebook message or as sensitive as your credit card information.
Common Types of Web Content
In addition to the words on a page, most websites are made up of many other elements. Some of these elements are visible, such as links, images, embedded videos, or ads. Others are hidden, such as CSS files, which controls the size of the text, the colors of headlines, and other layout and formatting details. Each of these elements has a unique URL (Uniform Resource Locator).
These URLs are like puzzle pieces. Seen on their own, they may or may not make much sense, but together, they create websites as we see them. A web page on a site like the Huffington Post, for example, may contain more than 100 URLs, each of which represents a photo, a story, a video, a link, or one of those hidden items.
Common visible media elements
Audio, video, and image files all come in a variety of file types. If you see a strange link in the Detailed Browsing Log or the Legacy Report, check for these file types at the end of the URL. If they appear, you can make a reasonable guess that the element was visible on the website.
These are some of the most common file types:
- Images: .png, .jpg, .jpeg, .ico, .svg, .bmp, .tiff
- Video: .mov, .mpg, .mpeg, .m4v, .wmv
- Audio: .mp3, .mp4, .wma, .wav
For example, if you see “national-geographic-grand-prize-photo.jpg” on a Report, it’s probably safe to assume that the URL is an image or award winning photo from National Geographic. The URL “national-geographic-photographer-interview.mp3” is probably an audio interview with an award-winning photographer, and “national-geographic-winner-interview.m4v” is probably a video interview.
Another common file type is .gif. These are a set of repeating, still images, halfway between pictures and video. Think of them as mini, repeating slideshows or flipbooks. Animated .gifs are especially popular on sites like Buzzfeed and Tumblr.
Common underlying code elements
Covenant Eyes monitors all of the underlying code elements on a page. Here are some of the most common code elements:
- HTML (Hypertext Markup Language): This defines the content of the page. It often includes page text and contains display information like paragraph breaks, titles, and bold or italicized text.
- Flash: A multimedia and software platform that is used with media elements like animation, gaming, and videos.
- CSS (Cascading Style Sheets): A library of information to describe the formatting of a document written in a markup language such as HTML. It defines things like the default font and space between paragraphs.
- PHP (Hypertext Preprocesser): A language describing the look and formatting of a document written in a markup language like HTML.
- CDN (Content Delivery Network): A large system of servers deployed across the Internet to provide content to users.
- API (Application Programming Interface): A library that tells software components how to work together. They can also protect information using keys that restrict who gets certain information.
- Java: A programming language designed to run in different settings without adjustment.
- DNS (Domain Name System): The technical name for the system that translates IP addresses to domain names. If you see something like DNS://platform.twitter.com on your Report, it simply means that twitter.com was accessed, whether directly by the user or as part of the underlying code of a website.
For example, this is a URL that appeared on an Accountability Report. You can see that it is a .json file, which means it may be code used to display something, such as an ad. You can also see which CDN the ad network used to display it, and the website and blog post where it was displayed. This example was supporting code for an ad displayed on a Christianity Today article about women and porn addiction.
Most of these pieces of Web Content go unnoticed by the user, and only appear in the Detailed Browsing Log.