I hear a lot from many parents and spouses who want a way to monitor what their kids or significant other is doing on their phone. I also hear from people just out of relationships who worry that their ex is spying on them.
In both cases, I'm going to end up talking about spy apps. These are apps that hide on your phone and tell someone else everything you've been doing and even where you are. Click here to learn how apps can spy on your cellphone.
The legality is a bit tricky. You have to own the gadget to legally install the app, which is fine for parents, but a problem for spouses and exes.
Still, given how many spy apps are used illegally, it's a wonder you don't hear about more legal hassles around them. That's why this California woman's story is making such news.
Kristin Nyunt is being charged with illegal wiretapping after installing MSpy, Mobistealth and StealthGenie on her now ex-husband's phone between 2010 and 2012. The catch? He was a police commander in Pacific Grove, California.
That means she was reading sensitive police information, along with whatever else he was doing. You can see how that might be a problem.
Of course, there's plenty more to this story. Her ex-husband John Nyunt is serving two years in prison for running a private investigation business on the side using police resources. And he's accused of conning at least one crime victim out of $10,000.
He also gave his then-wife full access to the police department database, which she used to find targets for identity theft. So, she was going to be in trouble anyway, and the wiretapping charge is just the icing on the cake.
Still, the law does seem to be taking more notice of spying apps. Hammad Akbar, the CEO of the company that sells StealthGenie, was recently indicted over creating the program.
So how do you prevent anyone putting a spy app on your phone? Click here for the 7 essential steps you need to take to secure your smartphone or tablet.