So now the police are handing out spyware, for free…

Have you ever wanted to use malware, but were too afraid of all the hackers and underground forums? Do you want to spy on your children, your spouse, your neighbors, and your friends? Have you ever thought to yourself, “Man, if only there were a free and easy way to log all keystrokes and pass them in unencrypted plaintext to a third-party server so that anyone with the inclination could intercept the transmission and spy on my children without my consent”? Well, have we got a spyware for you!


ComputerCOP? That’s right, Computer-COP. And no, this isn’t just a parody of cheesy TV marketing circa 1996 – it’s real.

Ever vigilant, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has published nothing short of an indictment against the makers of the ComputerCOP Internet Safety software, a program that’s been distributed for free by approximately 245 U.S. law enforcement agencies in 35 states, to help parents keep their children safe online. The kicker? Well, in addition to featuring a near useless search functionality designed to find “bad words,” a browser monitor that only works on Internet Explorer and Safari, and a “bad image” finder that has a hard time discerning between desktop icons and boobs, premium versions of ComputerCOP come fully loaded with a keystroke recorder – that transmits logged information to third party servers… in plaintext form.

What this means is that anyone who wants to computer-spy on anyone else need only walk on down to the local police station and obtain the tool to do it, for free. Oh, and when you use it, you may also unknowingly be sharing what you find with your friendly neighborhood hacker, if they happen to be bored that day and are sniffing local networks for unencrypted goodies.

But wait! There’s more…

Got an extra $42,000 in cash laying around from that last drug bust? Why not send a copy of ComputerCOP to every parent in the county, and why not print the most photogenic portrait of the county sheriff you have right smack dab on the label of the disc?!

computer-cop-flyerSource: Electronic Frontier Foundation

Yeah. That’s actually happening, too. And the icing on the cake is that ComputerCOP is actively marketing its product to law enforcement agencies as the “perfect election and fundraising tool,” using fraudulent endorsements from the U.S. Dept. of the Treasury, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

As of today, the EEF estimates anywhere from a few hundred thousand to more than a million copies of ComputerCOP have been purchased by law enforcement agencies across the United States. Emsisoft does not endorse setting fire to any of these copies that you might find, but if you happen see ComputerCOP in use we trust you’ll know what to do.

For the full story, see the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Deep Links Blog.

Have a great (subsidized-spyware-free) day!





  • Legend

    For once, I can’t find any suitable words, other than ” horrifying stupidity” , sorry.

  • ExclamationPoint

    I have no words to describe this.