How does the following sound? “A program with which you can see someone else’s call and messaging details”. Naturally, that very phrase is enough to get anyone interested. A mobile phone contains a lot of sensitive data in the form of call logs and message history.
Call logs may contain:
- The date and time of call
- The phone number of the call.
- The call duration.
- · If calls were previously recorded on the mobile, the entire conversation that took place may be learned.
Similarly message history may contain:
- The date and time of the message.
- The contents of the message; which in turn, may contain sensitive data like passwords, bank balance messages, monetary transaction receipts etc.
- And of course, the message senders details.
- All this data naturally is valuable for the owner and hence a potential target for “mobile spy programs”.
Such programs have to be installed on the targets mobile device first, for them to be used effectively. Installation on the target device is usually done manually. A mobile device usually has good security features that prevent unauthorized access. Hence a manual install is usually needed. Once installed, the software usually stealth’s its presence from the user. Such software(s) usually don’t show up in the list of programs too. The latest apps available to spy on mobile phones are in themselves very sophisticated and use a variety of methods to avoid detection through other means.
So what are the potential uses of such a “mobile spy program”?
1) Parents can use it to spy on their children’s phone. Since the mobiles are their own property, they are free to install any software on it as they see fit.
2) Companies and other institutions may use it to spy on their employees and ensure that any sensitive data regarding the organization isn’t being smuggled out. A phone provided by such an institution is its own property; hence it is also legally viable. Though the rules vary from country to country.
3) Police / Investigative agencies / Law enforcement agencies may use such mobile spying software to monitor suspects or potential targets relevant in their investigation. This too is perfectly legal as potential threats to society can be monitored – provided appropriate permission and legal formalities are completed.
People can also use it just for fun and spy it on their own phones if they own two or more. Some people simply like to test the latest software just for fun. While all of this is good and fine, the legality of the issue cannot be taken lightly. Such actions may be deemed a breach of privacy by the person being spied on. Different rules apply in different circumstances and so care should be taken before attempting any of the aforementioned uses. Of it’s your own phone, there are no such issues, but when someone else’s mobile is being spied on – it may be considered a criminal offence.