me&you&everyone

Paul Walsh is no puritan. He doesn’t want to rid the Internet of porn or burn the world’s Playboy Magazines in the town square. But he does hold the fairly common view that parents should be able to shield their children from adult content on the Web. Since raising $740,000 a little over a year ago, his company MetaCert has released an iPad browser and web browser extensions that block pornographic websites with a very low “false positive” rate (less than .3 percent, he says). Now, MetaCert takes its Internet safety crusade one step further with a Android tablet app called Safeguards that does more than protect kids from browser porn. It can also block certain apps at various times of day.

After all, porn isn’t just a browser “problem.” It’s all over Vine, Facebook, Tumblr and other sites that can be accessed via apps. Using Safeguards, parents can block apps X,Y, and Z every Friday from, say, 5 PM to 7 PM if that’s their child’s — or spouse’s — designated tablet time. The app also offers the same Internet porn blockage that MetaCert’s browsers already use.

The biggest hurdles for Walsh and MetaCert right now aren’t technological — having cataloged hundreds of millions of pornographic pages, Walsh’s algorithms know porn when they see it, maybe even better than Justice Stewart. The bigger problem is working around restrictions set by Apple and Amazon. “It’s not possible to control other apps on iOS so we had to build a browser,” says Walsh. That’s why the app only exists on Android tablets (Android smartphones are next). Meanwhile, Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD, doesn’t allow browser control. “We are working on making it work on Kindle as their Silk browser can’t be controlled. So we might strip out the Internet blocking bit and just do time permissions.”

MetaCert has its work cut out for them. That’s part of why the company’s looking to raise around $750,000 more. Walsh also said that large Internet companies have been looking at MetaCert as a solution to improve their own family safety features. He’ll keep us posted as those negotiations progress.

[Image via YouTube]