John Barrows is founder and president of Blue Wolf Network, an Internet software company in Portland, Ore. Two years ago, he created a software tool called Prudence, which let parents see where their children were surfing on the Web. But in the past 12 months, Barrows, a parent himself, has declined to upgrade Prudence for a rather unusual reason: ethical considerations.\n\n \n\n\n\n\nCIO: I understand retail outlets are still selling Prudence, but you have chosen not to improve the package to make it competitive with similar tools. Why? \n \n\nBarrows: I\u2019ve lost interest in developing tools like Prudence because they are being used in ways I don\u2019t like. There are companies that are installing software like this to spy on their own employees. There are parents who are using it to spy on their children and wives using it to spy on their husbands and vice versa. I never intended Prudence to be a tool for people to use to spy on each other. Maybe the FBI has a right to spy on people?maybe it doesn\u2019t?but I don\u2019t want to be part of it.\n\n \n\n\n\n\nWhy then did you develop Prudence in the first place?\n \n\nAt the time, there was a lot of debate about kids having easy access to pornography sites on the Web, and I wanted to do something about it. My idea was not to filter stuff, which is akin to censorship, but to allow a parent to see what their child was doing and to say to their children, "I have the ability to monitor you; here are the rules and if you don\u2019t follow the rules, I have the ability to restrict your access to the Internet." I thought parents would use it responsibly. But what I\u2019m finding is that parents are spying on their kids and not telling them. And I totally disagree with that.\n\n \n\n\n\n\nSo if you\u2019re not upgrading Prudence, will it become obsolete? And can your company afford that?\n \n\nYes to both questions. Prudence is losing in the competitive battle because there are other products out there that are more upgraded. And that\u2019s fine with me. I\u2019ve moved on to develop different business products. For instance, I\u2019ve launched one Internet startup that is an e-commerce site that sells boating supplies online, and I am starting another software company whose product allows digital movies to be streamed into hotel rooms. It\u2019s not like I\u2019m running a multimillion-dollar business that depends on one software package. This is a small business, and because it\u2019s my own, I can make decisions that tie in with my own personal ethics.