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Big Brother is in your phone!

Big Brother is in your phone!

We have already become a generation of over sharers, thanks to social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook giving us direct access to the stream of consciousness of our friends, as well as our favourite celebrities and public figures. The extent to which we enjoy prying into the lives of others is phenomenal; however the News International scandal and subsequent Leveson Inquiry drew to our attention the imposing lengths certain organisations would go to satisfy our inquisitiveness.

It has now gone one step further, with a new generation of technological spy software available to the masses, through software company ‘Stealth Genie’. They offer what is essentially a phone ‘tracking’ service, giving their customer complete ’access all areas’ to their victim’s smart phone. That means all emails, photos, texts, calls and voicemails are automatically forwarded directly to the ‘Stealth Genie’ app on the customer’s computer.

The main selling feature? It is all completely without the knowledge of their victim as the product works in stealth. It seems they have thought of everything – obliterating all traces of the invasive technology on the affected phone, even the customer’s billing information is masked. What’s more, they are so sure you will be satisfied with their product that they offer double your money back if not! It goes without saying that this kind of technology is not without its benefits however, offering us peace of mind in an age where we are plagued with unease about the modern world - where our child’s safety is concerned for instance.

Moral issues aside, demand for this kind of service stimulates the all-important question, in this age where social media revelations prevail, how much do we really have the right to know about someone? Surely no more than they care to reveal themselves and this is where, many will feel such software crosses the line. On the other hand, some may strongly feel we do have a right to access such private information when we think the individual will benefit, if we have reason to believe they are in potential danger for example.

The problem is that there can be no real sort of regulation on the use of such a product, since inevitably, the case for every individual will be completely different. Yet, worryingly, Stealth Genie unashamedly targets their most profitable market – the suspicious partner – despite the potential for catastrophic consequences. Sadly, we can see why such individuals would go to such extremes – but access only serves to feed the jealous mind.

Status Anxiety, within a relationship or society in general, causes us to crave more and more information about others, so there will always be a market for this kind of violation of privacy. This is exactly what spy software taps into – darker human emotions of envy and distrust as well as a chilling demonstration of how the very signature of our generation can be used against us.

No doubt this controversial subject has huge scope for debate – with a passionate argument for either side. On the one hand spy software has the potential to save a life, yet on the other, it could result in tragedy. It would seem that there is far more potential for the latter to occur. We only need to consider how we would feel if we were being targeted ourselves to see how completely undesirable and unethical, not to mention paranoia inducing this is. If we were to readily use such software, clearly it would need to be controlled and used only in the right hands. This of course leads to the unanswerable question: who is to be the judge of who should and shouldn't be monitored? There is a clear moral distinction between the case for the suspicious partner and the worried parent, but the rest is a very grey area indeed.

Please contact Lucy Robson from Newslife: email: lucy.robson@newslife.co.uk Telephone: 020 3668 6801