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Cell Phone Spying – Legal or Not?

Until recently cell phone spying meant checking your partner's text messages when they were taking a bath … a practice surprisingly common in both men and women. But these days it has become big business, with dozens of companies now offering technology to assist people in spying on mobile phones. And it is not just text messages that are targeted; call logs, photographs, videos, emails and even voice calls can all be monitored and tracked. So who is using this kind of technology? And is it legal? To find out, we first need to understand exactly what we mean by cell phone spying …

What Is Cell Phone Spying?

Cell phone spying is the observation of phone activity by someone other than the phone's normal user. The use of the word 'spying' implies that the observation of the phone is furtive or secret and that the phone's user does not know that they are being observed. This may well be the case, but the same tools used for covert spying are also frequently used with the full knowledge and agreement of the user. This is often the case in business situations where employers monitor the use of mobile phones by their employees.

Is Phone Spying Legal?

It would seem obvious that the use of phone monitoring tools by mutual agreement is likely to be legal in most countries. Most large corporations have an employee monitoring policy that applies to Internet and email use and increasingly this is being extended to cell phone use. Employees generally agree to these policies as part of their employment terms and conditions and this allows some employers to legally install spying tools on company owned mobile phones. The same principle also applies to parents who monitor their children's mobile phone use.

But what about stealthy or covert use of mobile phone monitoring tools? Is it legal to spy on mobile phones when the user is unaware they are being monitored? This is a tough legal question and the answer varies from country to country. Most countries have laws prohibiting covert investigation and undercover surveillance by law enforcement officers. Some countries also allow covert surveillance by private individuals engaged in the investigation of a crime – such as private investigators and corporate security professionals.

Cell Phone Spying Tools – Use Responsibly!

It should be evident by now that cell phone spying tools do have legitimate uses. Employers, parents, law enforcement officers and security professionals are all potentially legitimate consumers of the mobile phone monitoring industry. That is why the mobile phone monitoring companies are able to advertise and sell their products perfectly legally over the Internet. It is up to the individual to be aware of the laws in their own country and to make sure they use these tools legally and responsibly.

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