from the domestic-spying dept.
Michelle Cottle reports in The Atlantic that in an earlier era, a suspicious husband might have rifled through his wife's pockets or hired a private investigator but today spouses have easy access to an array of sophisticated spy software that records every keystroke; compiles detailed logs of calls, texts, and video chats; that tracks a phone’s location in real time; recovers deleted messages from all manner of devices (without having to touch said devices); and that turns phones into wiretapping equipment. One might assume that the proliferation of such spyware would have a chilling effect on extramarital activities. But according to Cottle, aspiring cheaters, need not despair: software developers are also rolling out ever stealthier technology to help people conceal their affairs. Right or wrong, cheating apps tap into a potentially lucrative market and researchers regard the Internet as fertile ground for female infidelity in particular. “Men tend to cheat for physical reasons and women for emotional reasons,” says Katherine Hertlein. “The Internet facilitates a lot of emotional disclosure and connections with someone else.”
But virtual surveillance has its risks. Stumbling across an incriminating email your partner left open is one thing; premeditated spying can land you in court. A Minnesota man named Danny Lee Hormann, suspecting his wife of infidelity, installed a GPS tracker on her car and allegedly downloaded spyware onto her phone and the family computer. In March 2010, Hormann's wife had a mechanic search her car and found the tracker. She called the police, and Hormann spent a month in jail on stalking charges. “I always tell people two things: (1) do it legally, and (2) do it right,” says John Paul Lucich, a computer-forensics expert and the author of Cyber Lies, a do-it-yourself guide for spouses looking to become virtual sleuths. Lucich has worked his share of ugly divorces, and he stresses that even the most damning digital evidence of infidelity will prove worthless in court—and potentially land you in trouble—if improperly gathered. His blanket advice: Get a really good lawyer.