A few years ago, a time that seems to be ages ago now, a worried mother could take a sneak peek into a carefully hidden diary, to keep under control (or at least to be informed about) the outside activities of a daughter or a son who were starting to discover the world and its lures.
A few decades have passed, but it really feels as if eons have gone. Nowadays, a smart kid keeps his secrets in an encrypted directory, safely stored in a password-protected USB key or a CD-RW.
These terms, acronyms and procedures may appear as Chinese to those who have been in their teenage even just 20 years ago.
Today’s communication is mostly carried out via email, SMS or instant messengers such as Skype, and a concerned parent wishing to keep his kids safe, must be a techie to keep an eye over them.
Some time ago, Italian newspaper reported about a father being set under investigation. The man, concerned with the possibility that his teen kids might use drugs, bought them a couple of “Spy Phones”, that is, cellphones which, unbeknownst to their users, act as listening devices and allow a third party to listen to the conversations they carry, thanks to a hidden software installed.
This kind of devices, which in the common man’s mind is generally associated with Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels and world domination conspiracies, can fortunately be used also for good reasons (and this is one of the possible cases). Any parent would like to be able to turn himself into the Invisible Man for a while, to follow his kids around and make sure that, for example, they don’t get abused or end up using drugs.
Now, there is no need to become invisible, when a spy phone can do the trick… Apart from acting as wireless bugs, such listening devices can also perform GPS or satellite navigator functions, allowing the concerned parent to be informed in real time about his kids’ whereabouts.
These devices can also send a copy of each SMS sent or received, and depending on the type, even transmit real-time images.
Politically correct lawmakers, though, tend to prevent a parent from secretly listening to his kids’ conversations, based on the protection of privacy and the assumption that unauthorized interception is by default aimed at an illegal use.
As we can see, this kind of software and this spy phone are “good” if used in a “good” way (and what is better than protecting your family?), therefore, with a limited expense, the concerned parent can sleep sound, while his loved ones are safe.