Last week Google Play pulled the stalker-ish app Rastreador de Namorados (which translates to Boyfriend Tracker) from its app store. That move forced thousands of women from Brazil (and beyond) to lose access to their boyfriends’ GPS location, call data and text messages.
Considering they had that much access, the change might be a good thing (or a reason to break up), but why all the furor? Women and men have been tracking their partners -- legally -- for years. Sure, some of this is down to good-old-fashioned obsessiveness, but there’s no need to circumvent the system when so many options are freely available.
Here are a few:
The first tracking app to receive mass attention, through a basic installation and syncing process was Google Latitude. It let you “connect” with certain people and allow them to see where you were, via a handy GPS identifier dot in Google Maps. First time I used this was with college housemates, and as I traveled around the world, it was nice to see where people were.
People check Facebook a LOT. Like, a ridiculous amount. It’s estimated that people check Facebook on their mobile around 14 times a day. And when you check, you’re likely to “like,” to upload photos, to add a status. All of these have timecodes AND -- especially on mobile -- often have a location code. Thus, you now have a fair gauge of what they were “liking” and where. All legitly.
Foursquare is a geo-location social network and the whole idea of it is that you are MEANT TO BROADCAST just where you are at all time, security be damned. This way you can keep track of your significant other/crush’s whereabouts and see just what they’re eating at the Oyster Shack/Rib Place. Not only do you know where they are you can also see WHO else was there at the same time, which could either relax you or add to your paranoia. Look, you’re stalking someone on Foursquare, I’m going to guess that paranoia is a constant state you’re living with.
Instagram is not traditionally in a stalkers toolkit but don’t discount it too quickly. For one, no one can resist instagramming pictures where they look hot/ sunkissed/ have pretty cocktails and this can give you a great insight into whether they’re where they’re supposed to be. Plus, a little known factoid of Instagram is that it has an “upload location” feature. However, when it “maps your location” in this manner, it’s from the place the photo was TAKEN regardless if you upload it 1000 miles away two weeks later.
If none of these ways take your fancy, or you consider them too mundane, there are still a number of stalker-esque aops available. The Boyfriend Tracker may be gone, but a brief Google shows that many MANY exist that give you access to your partners SMS messages remotely, such as Spy Your Love, which gives you Facebook and SMS message updates and Text Watcher Message Spy.
So what have we learnt here? There are many ways to keep track of what your partner is doing, but if you’re expending this much energy, stress and sneakiness, maybe they shouldn't be your partner...