Covenant Eyes Responds to Privacy Violation Complaints

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Covenant Eyes Responds to Privacy Violation Complaints

By Movieguide® Contributor

Accountability app Covenant Eyes is responding to reports that their service violates users’ privacy. The app is primarily used as an accountability software to block sexually inappropriate materials on smartphones.

A WIRED article claims that the app is “shameware,” taking screenshots of people’s internet use and sending it to a private server. 

Covenant Eyes’ spokesperson Dan Armstrong shared that the company has those same concerns about privacy, saying that “spying on people is damaging and counterproductive.”

“Our usage policy explicitly prohibits using Covenant Eyes to monitor someone without their authorization,” he continued. “We do not allow spouses to use Covenant Eyes to spy on one another or employers to secretly monitor employees.”

Instead, Armstrong said Covenant Eyes encourages users to rely on family and friends to hold them accountable. 

“This creates safer relationships where shame has less of a grip and real growth can take place,” he said. “With a power imbalance in the relationship, shame tends to increase and a person who might want to overcome a problem is instead pushed to hide it further.”

Covenant Eyes was founded in 2000 in an effort to help those who were struggling with pornography use. The company claims to have helped over 1.5 million users overcome this issue. 

Movieguide® previously reported on the issue of porn addiction:

“I think the biggest problem ultimately is that porn preys upon our vulnerabilities and appeals to the lowest parts of ourselves.”

This didn’t come from a pastor; it came from Hollywood actor Josh Radnor in an interview with Fight the New Drug (FTND), a nonprofit organization that raises awareness on the harmful effects of pornography using scientific facts and research, as well as personal accounts, to support their cause.

Radnor, a filmmaker and actor whom many know from the hit TV show HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER, told FTND that porn is “a pretty epic disaster physically, psychologically, and spiritually” and spoke passionately about its devastating effects on individual relationships and society as a whole. He joins a growing list of celebrities, such as Rashida Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Terry Crews, who aren’t afraid to speak their minds on this important issue.

“Those who speak out against it are reliably tagged as religious nuts or prudes or puritans or anti-sex,” he said. “I had just gotten really tired of the refrain ‘Everybody watches porn.’ It’s crazy how often that’s said, as if all the data has been collected and the discussion is finished. It’s a tactic to get porn more and more normalized.”

Indeed, pornography use is rampant and on the rise.

According to Covenant Eyes, an Internet filtering service, a quarter of a billion people are expected to access mobile adult content from their phones or tablets in 2017, an increase of more than 30% from 2013. One in five mobile searches is for pornography, and 24% of smartphone owners admit to having pornographic material on their mobile handset.

The Republican National Committee has declared pornography a public health crisis. Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, stated that she is “aware of children as young as nine years old who have reached out for help because they are struggling with pornography use.”

Hawkins voiced the GOP’s desire for a public health approach to raise awareness about the pitfalls of pornography, provide support for those struggling with it, as well as offer strategies to prevent wrestling with it in the first place.

“Prevention programs on sexual violence must involve a discussion of the harms of pornography in order to be holistic and effective,” Hawkins said. “For instance, a study of university fraternity men has shown that pornography viewing is nearly universal among this group, and that pornography viewing is associated with a greater intent to commit rape across pornography genres categorized as ‘mainstream,’ sadomasochistic and rape-themed.”

Radnor had this to say about “mainstream” porn: “[It] makes porn twenty years ago look kind of quaint by comparison. So much of porn brutalizes women and normalizes violence towards women. That’s inarguable. You see its influence in prime time television with the ever-increasing numbers of murdered strippers and prostitutes.”

Though many people today don’t consider pornography harmful, both Radnor and Hawkins agree that it is only a matter of time until its damaging impact is widely recognized.

“I believe pornography today will follow the trend of the tobacco industry in public perception,” Hawkins said. “Pornography is pervasive and popular, similar to smoking in the 1950s, but as the harm become apparent, both the general public and elected officials will demand that a multi-disciplinary public health approach be implemented across the country to address it.”

Radnor holds a similar opinion.

“There are those who say there’s no such thing as pornography addiction and that watching porn is harmless,” he told FTND. “History will not be kind to those people. They’ll be the doctors from the fifties in the cigarette ads.”

“I played a character with a morphine addiction,” Radnor said, “and in my research I came across a description of opiates as ‘the Judas drug,’ in that it will ‘kiss you then betray you.’ This is also true for porn.”

We at MOVIEGUIDE® applaud Josh Radnor’s bravery and boldness in speaking about such a destructive and pervasive spiritual sickness in our nation. We hope this message will convince men and women who may be battling a pornography addiction and encourage them to seek the freedom, healing, and restoration they need. The “Judas drug” and its prevalence might be strong, but Jesus Christ’s miracle-working, bonds-breaking, life-changing power is stronger.

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