Screen Accountability™ FAQ

 

 

Why is Covenant Eyes changing its service?

At Covenant Eyes, we work hard to help our members and their allies use the internet well. But the way that we use the internet has changed. We use apps instead of browsers. We live on our phones. We connect to the world through our screens.

So how we hold each other accountable must also change.

Three years ago, we anticipated these changes and began research and development on a revolutionary new way to hold people accountable for their online behavior using machine learning (more below). This innovative approach promises new insight into our digital behavior.

How is the new Screen Accountability technology better than what you’re doing now?

Screen Accountability provides more holistic insight into what we actually look at on our screens. On Android™, it’s no longer limited to what we do within a browser. Whether using Google Chrome, the YouTube app, or Instagram, Screen Accountability can now come with you, doing an even better job of keeping temptation at bay. For iPhone® and iPad®, Screen Accountability works within the Covenant Eyes browser app, while still providing our device-wide domain monitoring via the VPN.

One request we often receive from allies is, “Can’t you just show me exactly what they looked at? The link I’m clicking on from the report isn’t working.” Screen Accountability solves that need by including blurred screenshots in the report. It makes being an ally easier by allowing you to have more accurate conversations.

There’s nothing else like it on the market today.

How does the Screen Accountability technology work?

  • We regularly capture screenshots of your devices (Android, iPhone/iPad, Mac, and Windows)
  • We used advanced artificial intelligence to detect sexual images.
  • We highlight any screenshots that we think may be concerning in a report to your ally.
  • In addition to concerning screenshots, we will provide a random sampling of “Other Screenshots” for context.
  • All screenshots are blurred to protect privacy. Suspected sexual content is highly blurred.
  • Members using the Covenant Eyes Filter will be switched over to our new blocking service. Known pornography is automatically blocked, and SafeSearch is locked on major search engines.

I’ve seen the words artificial intelligence. What does that mean?

This is the more technical side of what we’ve been up to, but for some, it will be useful information. For two years, we’ve been training an image-recognition algorithm to recognize pornographic images. This advanced artificial intelligence makes decisions about the probability of pornography being present on the screen.

What is changing about the Covenant Eyes Filter?

While our Filter solution was helpful, it was challenging to set up. As a result, we are making things simple. Our members often used our Filter because they wanted to stay away from pornography. That’s exactly what our change is about! We are moving to a blocking feature, powered by CleanBrowsing, that automatically blocks known pornography domains.

We are currently beta testing a custom block list that will make it possible for you to block a site that CleanBrowsing does not block. To learn more about this new tool, click here. 

Does Screen Accountability work on my iPhone/iPad?

Yes, the Covenant Eyes browser app will use screen monitoring for all activity within the app. Outside of the Covenant Eyes browser app, we provide device-wide monitoring and reporting of website activity through the VPN.

Members with Filtering will benefit from whole-device domain-based blocking that prevents access to all known porn sites from any app on the device. Members are encouraged to set up Apple’s Screen Time restrictions to disable the Safari browser and secure the device for maximum accountability.

What do the Screen Accountability reports look like?

Each report has two compilations of screenshots. Any concerning screenshots are compiled at the top of the report. Below that, a sample of other images (non-concerning ones) are presented to the ally; these are intended to provide a fuller picture of the member’s screen activity.

People often wonder if that means we will be sending pornographic images to their allies. The answer is “no.” We’ve worked hard on the blurring aspect of this technology, testing it with members, and trying to find that balance between “seeing enough” and “not knowing/seeing too much.”

This video from Collin Myers, Product Development Manager, provides a detailed review of the report, how it amplifies the accountability relationship, and how Covenant Eyes is protecting allies  from temptation.

For samples of a Screen Accountability report and additional details, read “Understanding the Screen Accountability Report.”

What about sending personal photos between spouses? Is that reported?

Yes, Screen Accountability scans the screen for explicit content, including text/picture messages on Android.

By using Covenant Eyes, you’re asking us to help identify pornography on electronic devices and notify a trusted friend. If you and your spouse send provocative images to each other, we suggest you select your spouse as your one and only Covenant Eyes ally.

Does this new service cost more?

No. Screen Accountability does not cost more.

How are you protecting my privacy?

Guarding your privacy is important to us.

Here is how we protect your privacy:

  • The Covenant Eyes software on your device captures a screenshot.
  • The software looks for explicit content using advanced artificial intelligence.
  • The software shrinks the image, blurs it while still on your device, and sends it to our servers in its blurred state using HTTPS and stored using a 256-bit AES key.
  • Screenshots in the report are blurred to protect the member’s personal information, like credit card and banking statements.

In other words, noise, pixelation, blurring, and image reduction are used in the screenshot blur process before being sent over HTTPS. This ensures that your screenshots can’t be unblurred, protecting your personal and sensitive information like financial records and medical data.

To further prove this point, these screenshots are from a personal bank statement and a password vault from one of our managers on the Screen Accountability team.

  

Some members have raised concerns about HIPPA, FERPA, and other laws that protect privacy. We have shared actual screenshots from our reports in our support article so that you can determine whether or not our blurring techniques are compliant with laws and regulations in your country. As part of your decision-making process, be sure to read the Covenant Eyes privacy policy.