We live in a world in which spyware is rapidly becoming normalized. No longer just a tool of hackers and government agencies, most adults have potential access to some iteration of this type of software.
iPhone trackers are one element of spyware. They can be an extremely useful tool for keeping your children safe or observing your partner’s behavior. However, they can also be used unethically.
So what are the uses of iPhone trackers? What they can do, who uses them, and what are the legal and ethical ramifications of device monitoring?
What Can An iPhone Tracker Do?
An iPhone tracker is used to monitor someone’s locations, communications, and behavior while using their device. It relays all of this information to an app or a web browser.
The software has a range of abilities, including
- Recording a device’s messaging and phone call services, including content of SMS, call duration, and contact interaction
- Tracking the GPS location of iPhone
- Call blocking for specified numbers
- Viewing of web browser history
- Monitoring of time usage on phone’s apps, including WhatsApp, Snapchat, Skype, and Kik
- Geo-fencing, or the act of setting up zones in which the device should not enter
In Which Situations Can You Ethically Use an iPhone Tracker?
The laws on device monitoring are strict, and you should always seek legal advice before using an iPhone tracker in a professional capacity. Though such applications are marketed for a host of uses, there are only two legally sound reasons to install a tracker on someone’s phone.
You may monitor a child under the age of 18 if you are the legal guardian, and own the phone that will be affected. You do not need to inform the child of your intent in this situation, although we would suggest having a talk with your child before doing so.
You may also use an iPhone tracker to monitor your employee’s behavior, but only if your company owns the device in question, in which case you do not need to inform the user.
When Monitoring A Child
Children are often given a phone for their own safety, enabling parents to contact their child wherever they are to make sure they’re safe. However, the online world has few safeguards for young people.
Some dangers a child can face online are:
- Cyber bullying affects many children. Young people can silently face a tirade of abuse without showing outward signs of suffering. By monitoring your child’s communications, you can ensure your child is not a hidden victim.
- Chat rooms and applications allow children to interact with strangers. However, they often fail to protect users and filter out predators. The ability to see their child’s interactions can help parents keep them safe.
- Web browsers can access a range of materials some parents may find unsuitable for young people. While some browsers feature parental locks, access to a child’s internet history can sometimes provide further protection from illicit or dangerous material.
iPhone tracking software can give you peace of mind that your child is not facing these risks alone or without guidance. A parent can decide their own level of involvement, and often simply knowing their child’s online behavioral patterns can be enough.
When Monitoring Employees
Many companies have used GPS trackers in their vehicles to ascertain that their trust is not being abused. It seems like a logical step that other company-owned property would be monitored for abuse. iPhone trackers can be used in a number of ways to make sure contractual agreements are being upheld, such as:
- Data sharing can be monitored to ensure intellectual property is not being leaked outside of the company.
- GPS location can be viewed whilst an employee is on company time. This can help diminish time theft and to ensure staff are keeping appointments.
- Access to web browser history and site blocking can keep employees away from social media whilst at work. They can also safeguard a company from the access of illegal or malicious content.
However, it should be remembered that social media accounts are private. While some iPhone trackers may allow illegal access, employers can face prosecution for monitoring this data.
Legal counsel should always be sought before a company begins to use phone monitoring software. Though employers are not liable to inform employees that company devices are being monitored, this act of trust can often ensure against problematic behavior.
The Legality of Spying
When looking at commercial iPhone trackers, there is a lot of unethical advertising. The scope for such software is legally narrow, however providers will often market for illegal uses.
A common issue is the use of monitoring software to spy on a partner or spouse. Phone tracking software is often marketed as a method to catch unfaithful behavior.
It is illegal to install such programs on another person’s device without consent. Any evidence gathered cannot be used in a court of law to ensure a legal separation. Any user that attempts this kind of observation can face prosecution.
Using iPhone software to spy on a partner is illegal and unethical. The most likely result is paranoia and uncontrolled separation.
Can We Spy Ethically?
When we hear the word ‘Spy’, we immediately think of unethical data gathering. Be it James Bond films or real-world government agencies, spies are people who gain access to information they shouldn’t be able to see.
In our day-to-day world, there are situations in which observation of another’s actions can be necessary. Where children’s safety or company property are involved, sometimes we need to spy on people.
iPhone trackers can be an ethical way to do this. They can help to ensure employees are on task whilst at work, and to keep children from facing online abuse alone.
Yet the software is only a tool, the user has the control. Phone tracking apps can be used for a host of unethical purposes, and some companies advertise them as such. The user must decide on their own level of surveillance, and how to go about it ethically and legally.