As technology continues to gallop apace, there seems no end to its applications. One of these is spying on people.
There is now a proliferation of so-called stealth apps for use with smart phones. One of them, FlexiSPY, expressly markets itself as a tool for employers to “monitor workers” for efficiency, parents to “protect children” and partners to “catch cheaters”.
The software allows you to read all of someone’s mobile phone messages – from SMS to Instant Messages – know their location at any time, turn their mobile phone into a furtive camera, audio record their surroundings and even listen to their phone conversations as they happen. All without the owner of the phone being any the wiser! At no point does a recording light come on or does the camera make shutter sounds when it takes a photo. The device appears inert but is disloyally sending data back.
Another stealth app is mSpy, whose spokesman was recently quoted as saying: “We do have quite a large portion of our customers who use mSpy specifically to catch a cheating spouse, (but) we do ask our users to make sure they’ve got their monitored partner’s consent.”
Which, of course, you can’t really do if you’re snooping on them! In other words, the likes of FlexiSPY, mSpy and Dr.Fone (which can retrieve and download every piece of data from someone’s phone, including deleted items) can be used illegally, and trying to gather evidence of your partner’s affair falls into that category – as the media phone-hacking scandal has confirmed.
If you suspect your husband or wife is cheating on you, apps like these can seem like a good way to confirm or allay those suspicions, but as a divorce lawyer, I strongly advise against it: If your partner isn’t playing away from home, he or she will take a dim view of your lack of trust. If they are, not only do you risk your adulterous spouse’s wrath, but you could face prosecution.
There are plenty of ways to find out if your partner is having an affair without breaking the law. Diane’s blog of 7 May 2013 If a Man wants Out of A Marriage the Chances Are He is In With Someone Else and a recent article in the Huffington Post detail many of the signs. Try these by all means, but don’t go down the spying-by-apps route. If you genuinely feel the need to bug your partner, the chances are your relationship is beyond repair.
* Denise McKenna is a senior associate with Benussi & Co