I must admit . . . the nerd in me is intrigued by the technology. Alfred Nobel must have had the same feeling after such an explosive discovery. Starting Today, Jealous Lovers Can Buy NSA-Like Monitoring Powers - Forbes Tech | 3/12/2014 @ 11:26AM |25,387 views Starting Today, Jealous Lovers Can Buy NSA-Like Monitoring SMS chat or photograph monitored. Whenever the boyfriend wants, he logs online and reviews the trove of information. This is not some dystopian nightmare. It’s possible right now using commercially available software from mSpy, which cheerily advises potential buyers: “And they won’t find out.” Here's How Others Can Easily Snoop On Your Cell Phone Adam TannerContributor Starting today, the company is also selling phones preloaded with the software, making it simple for users without any tech savvy to start surveillance right out of the box. The phone package is available with the HTC HTC One, Nexus 5, Samsung Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5s, at varying cost; for example, the Samsung Galaxy S4 costs $300; the subscription for the preloaded software costs another $199 for a year. I tried a test version of the iPhone. Although it took some time for some of the data to arrive to the website, it had uncannily accurate location data, and was able to pinpoint my movements to exact buildings on a university campus. Location tracking of an mSpy equipped cell phone (Courtesy of mSpy) The phone’s proclaimed target markets are employers and parents who have the legal authority to watch what their children do on their smart phones. Company founder Andrei Shimanovich knows others may use his products in illegal ways, but says it is not his responsibility. “It is the same question with the gun producer,” says Shimanovich, a Belarus native who recently moved to 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.” Shimanovich, 27, says he got the idea for his company because of his role as big brother, quite literally. He often had to oversee his sister, 11 years his junior. “She escaped her music lessons and dancing lessons,” he says. “I was starting to think about a way to find out where she is and what she is doing. I was looking at GPS locations.” Other manufacturers enable tracking of phones, recording of calls and other aspects incorporated into mSpy’s monitoring software. mSpy is hoping to win business by putting it all together into a convenient package. Asked to assess whether such ability is a tool for good, Shimanovich says: “I don’t think we can judge if it is good or bad, it is just the way it is.” Here is a link to a video on the mSpy software. Interestingly, researchers are using the abilities to gather the intimate data of smart phones to better understand human interactions and societal change. In Denmark Arek Stopczynski and his team has handed out 1,000 Nexus 4 Android phones to freshmen at the Technical University of Denmark in exchange for permission to study their patterns of data. “What we have here is a sort of test bed or an ant farm. We are really pushing the boundaries,” he says. “We are extremely not interested in individuals or looking at individuals,” he says. “I’m very interested in the spread in the network, good ideas and bad ideas, epidemics… Understanding how social groups form and fall apart, how do groups collaborate.” Volunteers in the program get to keep the phones as long as they are still participating in the experiment and still in college. They share data such as from their social networks, SMS and call logs, whom they are meeting through location data and other details. “Participants are aware of that and explicitly allow us to use this data,” says Stopczynski, a native of Poland. In Danish experiment, participants meet in the morning, attend classes within four different study lines, and interact across majors in the evening (Image from Stopczynski, Arkadiusz et al. “Measuring large-scale social networks with high resolution.”) The same techniques could be very useful to a corporation to track whether employees in general come on time or how they interact, for example. As with many aspects in the ever more powerful world of personal data, it is easy to imagine positive insights and research done through such capabilities as well as woes and unfair privacy invasions. I’m interested in hearing from readers: what limitations should exist on such cell phone monitoring capabilities?