A mobile applet that doubles as a monitoring device, launched by a group comprising former police officers and IT experts, is drawing criticism from their own ex-colleagues, legal experts and the public.
The applet, launched on the website www.mobicid.com, lets one read e-mails, track GPS location, monitor chats, internet surfing, video and audio files and contacts and calendar in another phone.
Legal experts say this is illegal and unconstitutional. The police say cases can be filed in the cyber cell. The twist in the story, however, is that it will be the clients who may be held guilty and not the applet’s makers.
“It’s is a hidden applet,” admitted Sachin Waze, an ex-police officer and founder of Mobi CID.
While the developers of the applet are gung-ho about the 1,800 client registrations on the first day itself, legal experts advise caution.
“This is a violation of constitutional rights. Tracking a person’s cell phone without his consent is depriving him of personal liberty. On this basis, the aggrieved person can appeal in a court of law,” said NS Nappinai, advocate and founder-member of Technology Law Forum.
The makers, predictably, have a different take.
“Parents can monitor their child or a corporation can monitor its employees by pre-installing this applet. This way, the parent will come to know if the child is accessing porn or objectionable content. Corporate honchos can check if employees are productively using time and involved in espionage or not,”said Sanyog Shelar, CEO, Mobi CID.
In the US, mobile applets like this one are banned.
Senior police officials said people can lodge complaints, if they feel their phones are being hacked into.
“Tampering with a computer system which include smart phones without the permission of the person using it amounts to hacking.
The aggrieved party can lodge a complaint with the cyber crime cell ,” said a senior police official.
“The service provider will escape the legal tangle. The client who has availed such services and is being cited as the accused may land in the dock, if the case is proved in the court of law,” he said.
Home-maker Purvee Bhatia (40) believes that it is wrong even for parents to monitor their children without consent.
Try telling that to Waze and this is what you get: “Whether a person monitors clandestinely or with the knowledge of the opposite person is none of our concern. We are just service providers and have followed all legal procedures.”