Software secretly spies on SMSes

THE eye-catching advertisement screams in its headline “How to Catch a Cheating Spouse” and promises all the evidence you will need to nail your straying partner.  

The ad is for a “discreet and fail-safe” software program that will secretly forward all incoming and outgoing SMS messages from your partner’s phone to you.  

Offered by one Jopca Solutions, it costs S$200 (RM460) to forward just incoming messages and double that if you want outgoing messages as well.  

It takes mere minutes to download the software into the phone to be spied on and it leaves no trail – forwarded messages do not appear in the “Sent” folder.  

The difficulty is in sneaking your partner’s phone out for the company to install the software. Also, the software is compatible with only certain models of mobile phones.  

For the paranoid and suspicious, the program takes snooping to a new level, but to many, it is a clear invasion of privacy.  

Concerns about privacy aside, a person who uses such software could be running afoul of the law.  

Said lawyer Adrian Tan: “Anyone using or selling the software can be found guilty under the Telecommunications Act for the fraudulent retention of messages.”  

Another lawyer said software users are also in breach of the Computer Misuse Act for installing software without the owner’s permission. If found guilty, users can be fined up to S$10,000 (RM23,000) or jailed up to three years, or both.  

Michael Ng, who identified himself as a shareholder and employee of Jopca Solutions, said he has received 80 calls since the ad ran about two weeks ago.  

He denied that the company is breaking any laws. “We do not retain any messages. We just forward them to another mobile phone.”  

Suspicious spouses make up 25% of his customer base. The majority, around 60%, are parents who wish to check on their teenage children. – The Straits Times / Asia News Network  

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