Thanks to advancing technology and the prevalence of everyday cell phone use, the use of software developed to track and spy on cell phone activity is on the rise. The ease with which one can monitor the mobile phone activity of another is seen as both a benefit and a bane. However, the benefits of these applications cannot be denied.
They allow stolen cell phones to be retrieved and help parents stay aware of the location of their children. The GPS tracking capabilities of such applications can also be used by the authorities to determine the precise location of a caller in crisis, and also enable users to precisely map out travel routes. This functionality has clear advantages, but as you might expect, that is only half of the story.
Legal and Moral Concerns
Some may assert, and rightfully so, that the value of a tool is determined by its use. While the above mentioned applications are clearly benevolent, there are some obvious uses for this technology that are a bit more controversial, and verge on invasion of privacy. While some might argue that a wife has the right to keep tabs on her husband without his knowledge or consent, most people feel that a disgruntled ex-lover using this technology to effectively stalk his former partner borders on criminal.
In fact, if you asked 100 people if they would be okay with someone tracking their activities via their mobile phone data, I am sure the vast majority would take issue with it. Privacy is something we tend to take for granted until it is taken away from us and this tool has the capability to do just that. While this technology is currently legal, using it in the commission of a crime is certainly not, and such intrusions are subject to legal ramifications.
How the Technology Works
Think of your cell phone as a two way radio. The inbuilt transmitters in your phone communicate will cell towers in the vicinity. Digital signals are transferred from these towers to your phone, allowing you to communicate with other via these signals. In urban areas the proximity of such towers usually allows you to seamlessly receive signals from a series of towers as you move from one location to the next.
There are two methods cell phone tracker software can monitor the activity of a cell phone:
- Network Based Location
- Handset Based Location
Network based location relies on a network of cells to pinpoint the location of the phone. This can be done with precision in urban areas, but the lack of towers in rural locals make for less accurate results.
Handset based location uses features built into the cell phone to track it. As many phones have built in GPS capability, this can be used to track a phone very precisely in all but the most rural locations. The most current, full featured mobile tracking programs used this form of tracking, as it allows a user to monitor virtually all activity that takes place on the phone being tracked.