Japanese ‘Boyfriend Tracker’ Allows You To Stalk Your Loved Ones

According to this article, the Japanese company Manuscript is being forced to modify their app, Boyfriend Log. The app was designed so that people could track their significant other through their phone.

The app would run invisibly in the background of any Android phone. It would use the built in GPS of the phone to relay current position to their website so that you could see where your spouse, or anyone with the app installed, was at anytime.

That’s not all it could do though. It would also relay other information, such as apps downloaded, and battery status. If you pay for a platinum membership, you could even get a call log.

The main issue raised with this app is the fact that it runs in the background without the user knowing. ‘Girlfriends’ are encouraged to instal it on their significant other’s phone without them knowing, and they would never even know that they have it running on their phone. In response to these concerns, the company now has an icon that appears on the phone when it is running, however all of it’s features are still the same.

Image taken from the official website is here, though it’s entirely in Japanese. This was translated using Google Chrome. To get around legal concerns, it looks like the app requires you to get the users consent before you install the app on their phone. We all know how easy it would be to forge consent on an app like this.

What do you think? Should it be legal to install these on someone’s phone, even with the icon? How easy do you think it would be to hack their site and get the locations and information from all it’s users?

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8 thoughts on “Japanese ‘Boyfriend Tracker’ Allows You To Stalk Your Loved Ones

  1. The Android market seems to be having a lot of trouble with applications being in the moral gray zone. They might have to start screening apps.

    • Yeah. There was that whole issue with the HTC logger that sent/stored all your information in a way that any apps with internet access could get to it, so there’s definitely some security concerns with android phones. Screening apps would probably be a good thing to have.

  2. Although it’s purpose is for it to be used by girlfriends and boyfriends it should be obvious that there can be a certain element of danger, especially when actual stalkers decide to use this stalker app.

    • Or even more benign purposes. Maybe you just want to track your roommate when they’re borrowing your car, to see if they’re running up the mileage on your vehicle. Is it still unethical even if you’re not abusing the power? I tend to think yes.

  3. I can accept apps like this for parents to put on their kid’s phone. As a legal guardian, you have a certain responsibility for the children, and if you’re anything like a good parent, you care that they’re okay, and not causing trouble somewhere. Something like this for girlfriends to spy on their boyfriends is, to me, over the line, ethically. This is someone you’re in a relationship with; you ought to trust them. Sneaking an app like this on to their phone suggests you don’t actually trust them, and if that’s true, why are you still with them?
    On the other side of things – as long as you can’t remotely install this on someone else’s phone, I suppose there’s some fault to lay on the target as well, for not keeping their phone safe enough. Most of my friends have pass codes, or those swipe pattern things to keep unauthorized people from mucking with the phone.
    This sort of scenario I think comes up fairly often with new technologies. If something is used as it was originally intended, it’s fairly benign. There’s always someone who can find a way to do considerable harm with something that was supposed to be safe, and even helpful.

    • I think the issue of a parent using this to track a child is another matter too, because until you’re 18 your parents are your legal guardians. The parent might even own/pay for their child’s phone, so really they only need their own consent in that situation. A spouse or girlfriend/boyfriend has no legal grounds to install this on their partners phone without consent however. Even though this is being advertised for couples, I can easily see it being perverted and used for personal gain.

    • Although I see the point of parents looking after their children, I’m a bit unsettled with our ways to go about it. I mean, we’re already keeping tabs on their facebook, they have cell phones for communication, and now we would stalk them via GPS too? I don’t know, I think I would want my kids to grow up in a seemingly more free environment. I think sometimes we get carried away and this is one of those times. They’re kids not prisoners after all. We are growing into a increasingly controlling society it seems.

  4. Something like this should only really be fine if both parties are in agreement. The notion that “if they have nothing to hide, then they shouldn’t be afraid” is intrinsically flawed due to the fact that everyone is entitled to a certain level of privacy.

    Furthermore, there are simply too many security risks with a program like this, the most evident one being the fact that someone can install this on the phone of a person that they want more information on, not necessarily someone that they are in a relationship.

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