SafeT has developed an interesting and beneficial piece of parental spyware by the name of Children Tracker. Children Tracker is an application that runs in the background on your child’s phone or tablet and keeps tabs on the device’s whereabouts, text messages sent and received, applications installed, and calls placed and received.
It works on multiple devices at the same time and also has a historical view of locations, timelines of any events, a top-five view of people most talked to, websites visited, numbers texted, etc. In other words, there is more than enough info know what your child is doing at any given point and who is contacting them. Add in the ability to see where their phone currently is, and you’ve got either a great piece-of-mind app, or the world’s most powerful stalking tool.
You can set the app to update you at intervals to conserve battery, or if you want the ability to call your kid the instant they do something wrong, you can set it to update as events happen.
The web side of the application uses Google Maps to plot out where they’ve been, and has most of the monitoring things you should need to know when the average kid is getting into trouble. I did notice in the 0.9 beta that it does not track Chrome or Google Voice, so if your child is using those (or perhaps others), you will be out of luck tracking them at the moment. There are plenty of other holes that you can find at the moment, but hopefully the developer will be patching them up soon enough as the product looks like a great start.
There are some concerns I have with the site. First, it’s reporting as a self-signed SSL, which means although the data you send and receive is encrypted, it’s not verifiable by a third party (if I remember that correctly). The website component also appears to store text messages, phone numbers, and location history of your child, so before this thing goes prime time I hope they’ll have some data protection and assurances. As a side note, the developer claims to use the Google App Engine cloud service for data storage. I’m not going to pretend to be able to tell how secure that’s going to be when it’s accessible on a self-signed SSL site. I’d assume it’s probably pretty secure, but you’ll need to investigate to see if you trust your kid’s data with it.
The app obviously requires a lot of permissions, so do be aware if you want to play with this you’re giving it access to probably everything on your child’s phone. Also be aware that it’s not out of beta yet, so try to not be too harsh on what the failures and shortcomings are at this moment. It’s a potentially great product, or potentially a terrible invasion-of-privacy stalker-type product. It all depends on what you do with it.
You’ll need to grab the beta APK at the link below, and register an account at www.safet.me. The Google Play link on the site doesn’t work as of this writing, but that’s a known at the moment as they haven’t put it up.
I’ll be interested to see where this thing goes after the initial release. It already pretty much covers what most parents would be concerned about and what you can do in an application that doesn’t require root. You can also see a demo account in action on the website.