October 25, 2010 | by Andrew Kameka
There was a time when jealous girlfriends checked their boyfriend’s beeper to search for clues of a cheating spouse. Today, people can track their loved ones online.
Seenearly is an app that can be installed to an Android phone to monitor online. Once installed, the monitoring party can check calls, SMS messages, websites visited, e-mails sent, and locations visited. So if your son says he was at the library but his phone shows that he really went to his girlfriend’s house, someone’s got some explaining to do.
There’s an obvious uneasiness about spying on someone, but CEO Peter Karsten said during a phone interview that “Spying isn’t nice,” and that couples should mutually agree to monitor each other’s phone. He also said in a statement that
“Seenearly is all about keeping you informed – we track all the activity on a handset and collect this information in one place. Having access to this information is enormously powerful – it can allow consumers to understand their mobile habits, protect against identity theft or cyberstalking and help keep an eye on loved ones.”
The conversation I had with Karsten also revealed some interesting possible uses for the app
- Monitor your own activity. This can be a useful backup of your device information in case you want to store phone activity.
- Monitor your employees. Karsten explained that one account can monitor multiple devices, so businesses that issue company phones can make sure their employees are not visiting inappropriate websites or making too many personal calls.
- Monitor your child. Parents are often looking for tools to keep their kids in check, and this can be a way to monitor your child’s websites, messages, make sure they aren’t perpetuating to suffering from cyberbullying, and more.
The general impression that I got from my conversation with Karsten is that Seenearly is a way to keep people honest. Knowing that someone is monitoring your account can curb some inappropriate activity or give someone pause before doing something. Of course, that could also lead to people avoiding their phone precisely for those reasons and conducting inappropriate activities on other devices.
And what does Seenearly do with all that data it collects? Nothing. It is viewed only by the user, stored securely, and can be removed. “We’re a tool for monitoring and helping you understand what type of data your phone gives away about you,” Karsten said. “You can delete your account at any time and we do not keep that information.”
Once you’ve settled on your moral dilemmas, download Seenearly from the Android Market. The app costs $9.99, but a free demo version is available. Visit Seenearly.com to register an account and pair with your phone.