COLUMN: Truth, trust and surveillance technology

COLUMN: Truth, trust and surveillance technology

The ability to monitor a partner’s cell phone has disturbing implications

A form of surveillance technology, promoted as a way to increase peace of mind, has some disturbing implications.

The technology is a way of covertly monitoring emails, text messages and other forms of communication on someone else’s phone.

It has been promoted as a way for a woman to determine if her husband or partner is cheating, or as a way to catch sexual predators online.

It takes a few minutes with physical access to the phone in order to install the necessary software.

Then the record of online communications is quietly delivered to the one monitoring the online behaviour.

The person on whose phone the software is installed will not be able to detect it.

Cheaters and predators beware. Your secret phone calls or text messages will be secret no longer. Your actions could come back to haunt you.

Technology to monitor online activity is nothing new.

For example, in Canada it is legal for employers to monitor employee computer use, although there are some limits to this.

But monitoring a workplace computer is not the same as installing sypware or tracking every message and call on a partner’s phone.

Privacy advocates are uncomfortable with this surveillance technology.

But those who promote it will ask how anyone could question a technology which could expose a cheater or a sexual predator.

Should opposing or even questioning such technology be seen as taking the side of the cheater or the predator instead of supporting the victim?

Besides, why should one’s personal privacy be a concern?

The reasoning is that there is no need to hide one’s actions unless those actions are illegal or shameful. Only the guilty have to keep secrets.

It’s not quite that simple.

There are some valid questions to ask about this or any other technology which allows such covert monitoring.

To start, what happens if an easily available monitoring software falls into the wrong hands?

Could this technology be used to provide an unwanted person with access to banking details or other personal information?

Fraud and identity theft are serious matters, and as a result, privacy and security are extremely important for any device which provides online access.

Even if the technology can be used without any potential security breaches, there is the question of its effectiveness.

Surveillance technology may reveal messages which expose a cheater or a predator.

And if that happens, the monitoring software has served its purpose.

But if there are no messages to suggest a parter is cheating, would this lack of evidence be enough to exonerate the suspected cheat?

Would a lack of such communications simply suggest the spouse is still cheating, but not using the cell phone to make calls or send messages?

If these questions are raised, the software is doing nothing to bring peace of mind.

At this point, the discussion moves away from technology to something far more uncomfortable.

At issue is a lack of trust.

If one person in a relationship feels the need to stealthily monitor a partner’s messages, something has gone horribly wrong in the relationship.

Once trust has deteriorated to this level, is there any way it can ever be restored?

Ultimately, this becomes the most important question to consider before installing surveillance technology on a partner’s phone.

John Arendt is the editor of the Summerland Review.

To report a typo, email:
news@summerlandreview.com
.



news@summerlandreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The goal of the group is to help women owned businesses recover from the pandemic and to assist women to become angel investors and women owned or co-owned businesses to better access capital.
Okanagan women’s investor fund launched to aid women-owned businesses

Twenty-five women have formed a new Okanagan angel investment fund

It's tick season in South Okanagan.
Tick season has started in South Okanagan

A Penticton adventure company collected 200 ticks last year to be studied for Lyme Disease

Forty-eight vaccination clinics will open across Interior Health beginning March 15. (Canadian Press)
48 COVID-19 vaccine clinics to open across Interior Health

Select groups can book appointments starting Monday

(File photo)
COLUMN: How to help your young reluctant reader

Library has resources to help children

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

Five Kelowna writers are featured in an anthology that launched in time for International Women's Day. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
International Women’s Day: Book exploring fears features Kelowna writers

The book has launched in time for International Women’s Day

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provide a regular update on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, March 2, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 cases: 545 Saturday, 532 Sunday, 385 Monday

Focus on Prince Rupert, Lower Mainland large workplaces

(File photo)
RCMP seek witnesses after 2 different reports of man chasing children in Kelowna

Both incidents occured around Dougall Road in Rutland

Rising accident rates and payout costs have contributed to billion-dollar deficits at ICBC. (Comox Valley Record)
B.C. appealing decision keeping ICBC injury cases in court

David Eby vows to ‘clip wings’ of personal injury lawyers

Noah Vaten(left) having a cigarette out front of the Kelowna Law Courts on a brief break during his manslaughter trial on March 8, 2021. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Accused Kelowna killer ‘blacked out’ on cocaine, kicked cop shop window looking for help

Video of Noah Vaten’s interrogation shown during manslaughter trial details night of Canada Day killing in the accused’s own words

(Black Press Media files)
Hosts charged, attendees facing COVID fines after Vancouver police bust party at condo

Police had previously received 10 complains about that condo

Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen takes part in an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. A joint federal and B.C. government housing program announced today aims to help people living in up to 25,000 vulnerable households pay their rent. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Federal, B.C. governments announce $517-million rent aid program to help vulnerable

Benefits for those not eligible for B.C.’s Rental Assistance Program or Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters

(BC SPCA)
Is it safe to give your dog some peanut butter? Not always, BC SPCA warns

Some commercial peanut butter ingredients can be harmful to dogs

Most Read