|License||Proprietary commercial software|
WebWatcher is a proprietary computer and mobile device monitoring software developed by Awareness Technologies. WebWatcher is compatible with iOS, Android, Windows, Chrome OS and macOS operating systems. WebWatcher Mobile records text messages, call logs, web history, photos, and GPS. WebWatcher for PC and Mac features include email & Instant Message monitoring, keystroke logging, web content filtering and monitoring, and screenshot monitoring. Critics have referred to WebWatcher and other similar pieces of software as "stalkerware".
WebWatcher was developed in 2002 initially for uses of counter-terrorism for Windows PCs. The software is now used predominantly by parents to monitor their children's online activities and by employers to monitor the activities of their workers. In 2010, a version of the software was released for BlackBerry and Android devices. In 2012, WebWatcher for Mac was released. WebWatcher for iOS was released in 2014.
Reception and criticism
WebWatcher received the PC Magazine editors' choice award in a 2011 review of Parental Control & Monitoring software. In the article, WebWatcher was referred to as "Heavy-handed" saying: "if you find it necessary to track a child who's engaging in risky activities, WebWatcher will record every detail and even send you instant notification when it encounters certain words." Also, About.com readers named WebWatcher as the "Best Internet Safety Tool" as part of its 2011 Readers' Choice Awards.
Critics have noted that since the software runs stealth on a device, there is an opportunity for the software to be installed illegally.  In 2020, TechCrunch and other media outlets described WebWatcher as "stalkerware". Shortly thereafter, Google removed advertisements for WebWatcher from its search results.
- "WebWatcher Downloads". Retrieved 1 May 2014.
- "CNET WebWatcher for Mac". Retrieved 1 May 2014.
- Rubenking, Neil. "WebWatcher Review & Rating". pcmag.com. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
- Norbury, Keith (13 April 2011). "The case against Big Brother at work". theglobeandmail.com. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
- Cohan, Peter. "Awareness Technologies Spies on Workers, Teens". Forbes.com. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
- "4 services for monitoring your kid's online activities". dailynews.com. 8 November 2013. Retrieved May 1, 2014.
- "WebWatcher Named 'Best Internet Safety Tool' by About.com Readers". Retrieved April 19, 2014.
- Rogers, Kate. "NSA-Style Surveillance for Parents Looking to Monitor their Kids". Fox Business. Retrieved May 2, 2014.
- "'Stalkerware' phone spying apps have escaped Google's ad ban". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2021-03-28.
- "Banned stalkerware apps keep appearing on Google search results". Komando.com. 2020-08-15. Retrieved 2021-03-28.