But when those same kinds of apps are used to surreptitiously monitor employee activities, or the behavior of your wife or boyfriend, well, things get a little creepy and possibly illegal. The watchdogs at the Government Accountability Office this waded into the smartphone tracking app quagmire and found lots of contradictory information on the topic by looking at 40 smartphone tracking apps and analyzing their websites. Statutes that may be applicable to surreptitious tracking apps, depending on the circumstances of their sale or use, are statutes related to wiretapping, unfair or deceptive trade practices, computer fraud, and stalking.
The GAO said that some experts it interviewed for the report believed the federal wiretap statute should be amended to explicitly include the interception of location data and Department of Justice has proposed amending the statute to allow for the forfeiture of proceeds from the sale of smartphone tracking apps and to make the sale of such apps a predicate offense for money laundering.
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However some experts interviewed differed in their opinions on the applicability and strengths of the relevant federal laws and the need for legislative action, the GAO stated. Some of these stakeholders believed it was important to prosecute companies that manufacture surreptitious tracking apps and market them for the purpose of spying. Domestic violence groups stated that additional education of law enforcement officials and consumers about how to protect against, detect, and remove tracking apps is needed. Still others in the GAO report were concerned that legislative actions could be overly broad and harm legitimate uses of tracking apps.
However, stakeholders generally agreed that location data can be highly personal information and are deserving of privacy protections, the GAO stated. The GAO noted that several federal laws may be relevant to the issue of tracking apps, including:.
The federal wiretap statute : This law makes it illegal, among other things, for an individual to intercept wire, oral, or electronic communications unless an exception applies, such as one of the parties to the communication has consented to the interception. It also makes it illegal to manufacture, sell, or advertise a device knowing that it is primarily intended for surreptitious interception of communications. Vismo is a GPS tracking application designed to locate individuals travelling the world using their smartphone, tablet or personal GPS Trackers.
Vismo is available on iPhone, iPad and Android smartphones plus Iridium and other satellite phones.
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Geo-fence and panic button alerts allow your security team to track, protect and respond to employees as they travel to high-risk areas. Vismo is also available on selected satellite phones, providing tracking and security in the most remote places on earth. Regular GPS fixes to a secure web platform, allows Incident Management Teams to view current locations worldwide, historical trails, battery life and signal strength. When global incidents occur, use Vismo to show the latest position of any employee in the vicinity and instantly send SMS to all.
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Turn your smartphone device into a GPS tracker with a covert panic button feature. Alerts are sent in real time using SMS and Email. Protect users' personal privacy without compromising safety.
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Privacy Mode allows users to choose when to be tracked whilst keeping the panic button feature. Edition: Available editions United Kingdom. Jeff Inglis , The Conversation.
Most apps give away personal data A study based at the University of California, Berkeley found that 7 in 10 apps shared personal data , like location and what apps a person uses, with companies that exist to track users online and in the physical world, digital privacy scholars Narseo Vallina-Rodriguez and Srikanth Sundaresan write.
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