What does Covenant Eyes monitor?

Covenant Eyes captures all of the URLs (web addresses) accessed by your computer and then provides a rating for each one. It also captures the time and date when the URL appeared on your computer screen.

Covenant Eyes also captures URLs that are activated by spyware, which is often the source of pop-up ads.

Finally, Covenant Eyes captures URLs generated by computer programs, which access the Internet for updates, advertising, etc. Most of these program URLs go unnoticed and only appear in the Detailed Browsing Log.

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 e-mail 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.

What is a URL?

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 on an Accountability 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.
  • JS (Javascript): This is a programming language used with HTML and CSS to build text.
  • JSON (JavaScript Object Notification): A text format based on Javascript that can be read by both people and machines.
  • 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.

Some of these elements may be directly visible, such as ads, which may appear as Flash files or Javascript. Others, such as CSS, should never be directly visible to a person, but may appear on the report if some of the letters in the URL spell something inappropriate (such as the letters “SEX” randomly generating in order).

christianity-today-ad-example-marked

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.

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