The cavalcade of NSA spying revelations created a golden opportunity for security companies to claim their share of the vast smartphone market. First, it was Silent Circle's BlackPhone and its PrivatOS that's chock-full of secure software and enhancements. Soon after, FreedomPop's Privacy phone claimed to be worthy of Edward Snowden's approval. Then, Angela Merkel's tricked-out BlackBerry was made available to everyone that's willing to spend $3K on a smartphone. And that's only the beginning.
While other security companies turned smartphone vendors are probably preparing their announcements as we speak, mSpy, maker of smartphone tracking software, is rolling in the opposite trend - phones made to spy on their users! The legal and moral questions surrounding such a product are strong, but after all, what's the point of secure phones if there's no one left to spy? Note the irony and carry on reading.
Starting today, mSpy is selling the HTC One, Nexus 5, Samsung Galaxy S4, and iPhone 5S with its tracking software quietly pre-loaded and lurking in the background. The $199 per year subscription service records everything the user does - calls, keystrokes, emails, messages, photos, location movement, you name it. The looted data is then made available for online viewing. In the better scenario, you will give this phone to a consenting individual, like your child, or another relative that needs to be watched from time to time. In the worst scenario, you will hand the phone to the unsuspecting victim of your spying and gape at an elaborate RSS feed of its life. This is the anti-Snowden phone.
This is the anti-Snowden phone
If you are wondering how such a polarizing product can openly exist on the market, mSpy's founder, Andrei Shimanovich, will brief you on the matter without batting an eyelid. “It is the same question with the gun producer,” says the 27-year old Belarus native who lives in New York. “If you go out and buy a gun, and go shoot someone, no one will go after the gun producer. People who shoot someone will be responsible for this. Same thing for mSpy. We just provide the services which can solve certain tasks regarding parents and teenagers.”
Obviously, mSpy is aimed primarily at “white-hat users”, such as employers, parents, and crowd behavior researchers. We believe the product makes a lot of sense for such customers, but there's zero doubt that the technology can be exploited for very harmful deeds - much worse than the antics of jealous lovers and control freaks. Shimanovich is very aware about this, but retains his objective demeanor: “I don’t think we can judge if it is good or bad, it is just the way it is.” Just like with weapons, laws, and some of life's finest or lowest moments.