Phone surveillance is the act of performing surveillance on phone conversations, location tracking and data monitoring of a phone. Before the era of mobile phones, these used to refer to the tapping of phone lines via a method called wiretapping. Wiretapping has now been replaced by software that monitors the cell phones of users.
While mobile phone surveillance has been carried out by large organizations for a long time, especially for clues of illegal activities, more and more such surveillance is now carried out by individuals for personal reasons. For example, a parent may become a "text spy" in order to monitor a child's texting activity. This brings in the moral, ethical and legal question of who owns people's privacy.
According to a 1998 American Management Association report, 43% of companies actually tap phone conversations and review computer files and emails of employees. No newer data is available on the number of phone surveillance carried out currently.
Phone surveillance software
Phone surveillance in now more commonly carried out on cell phones. This has become increasingly easy with the availability of cell phone monitoring software. These types of software are easily purchased over the internet and can be quickly installed in phones. There have been questions as to whether this software is illegal; software makers may show a disclaimer that they do not endorse any illegal activities.
Stopping phone surveillance
The law has yet to set a clear boundary on who can or who cannot do phone surveillance. A 2005 federal court ruling denies the FBI from tracking cellphone locations of people who have not committed any crimes.
- [Black Enterprise - Mar 1999]
- Phone spy software article
- [Introduction to Private Security, John S. Dempsey, page 257]