Accountability software, or Internet accountability software, is software which monitors and reports Internet usage, in order to incentivize the avoidance of any content deemed objectionable. Accountability software may monitor Internet use on a personal computer, or Internet use by a specific user on a computer. These software applications then generate reports of Internet use viewable by a third party, sometimes called an accountability partner. It sometimes also doubles as content-control software.
To try to avoid pornography use, some individuals install accountability software, and filtering software, on their own computers, smartphones, and tablets. Others install such software on their children's computers and devices. "Internet accountability" is a neologism used to describe a commitment to refrain from using Internet pornography.
The largest users of accountability software are religious groups and families. One of the largest for-profit companies marketing accountability software, called Covenant Eyes, makes roughly US $4 million per year from around 56,000 customers who pay for a subscription. Ever Accountable, Accountable2You, and Lion are other popular for-profit companies who have designed accountability software for various platforms. Each company uses a slightly different approach for providing protective internet experiences.
Most accountability software costs money to use, but there are free options including Net Responsibility (for Mac OS and Linux) and the free version of X3watch (for Windows and Mac OS). A 2011 Swinburne University report discusses some commercial options for computers, including Safe Eyes and Covenant Eyes. Smartphone and tablet users, if they do not want to pay for accountability software, may still be able to obtain no-cost filtering software.
- XXXChurch Pastor and Porn Star Find Some Common Ground at christianpost.com "XXXChurch.com also encourages accountability through its filtering software "X3watch," which sends an email or text message to a person's accountability partner every time he or she visits a questionable website"
- Church Counsels Women Addicted to Pornography at nytimes.com
- "Orthodox Jews Rally to Keep the Internet Kosher". WIRED. 23 May 2012.
- Porn again (World (magazine)) "programs track web browsing and deliver regular e-mail updates to an accountability partner of choice."
- Behun, Richard Joseph; Sweeney, Valerie; Delmonico, David L.; Griffin, Elizabeth J. (2012). "Filtering and Monitoring Internet Content: A Primer for Helping Professionals". Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity. 19 (1–2): 140–155. doi:10.1080/10720162.2012.666425. ISSN 1072-0162.
These tools are especially popular with religious groups and families.
- "Sumbission - Covenant Eyes, Inc.; Ronald DeHaas (CEO), author Filter Plus Accountability Software" (PDF). submission to law.harvard.edu.
- "Accountability Software - Comparing 5 of the Best Tools". Communicate Jesus. 2016-07-26. Retrieved 2017-01-21.
- Grundy, Judith; Grundy, John (August 2011). Australian Social Services Agency Software: Requirements, Current Usage and Opportunities (PDF) (Technical report). Victoria, Australia: Swinburne University Faculty of ICT. Retrieved 12 August 2013.