CC by 2.0, via Mike Babcock on Flickr

With a host of new apps like StealthGenie and MobileSpy, parents could be as well-equipped to spy as the U.S. government – well, almost. But there’s pretty much no way to lie to Mom any more if she’s tech-savvy.

These apps let you do everything from listen to live phone calls, view deleted e-mails and text messages, track locations by GPS, and even listen to a phone’s surroundings. Yes, that’s even when your phone isn’t being used.

And you won’t know they’re there, either. StealthGenie and MobileSpy can be uploaded to any Android, I-Phone or Blackberry, from service providers like AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Metro PCS. While someone would have to get hold of your phone to install it, once they manage that, you won’t see it.

And as soon as it’s installed, the app starts uploading your phone’s usage information, and instantly pinpoints your exact location. Then your mom can check it out by logging into a secure account from any browser, anywhere.

And if you even think of deleting a message, too bad — the data will still be retrieved and uploaded.
So how legal is it to spy on another private citizen? In the U.S. and in many other countries, the sale of mobile phone spying software is legal. On the other hand, it is a federal and state offense to install monitoring/surveillance software onto a phone that isn’t yours.

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But let’s just say Mom decides to buy you a new cell phone for Christmas this year. As long as it’s under her name and she follows the terms of use, game on! Well, that is, unless you live in one of the 12 states that require the consent of all parties to the call under most circumstances.

But it’s not just parents who can spy. Companies can also keep track of their employees using them – especially, obviously, on company mobile devices – with few restrictions.

There’s one group of people who can’t spy: Jealous spouses. Using these apps on your husband or wife without permission won’t hold up in divorce court – sorry!

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Giselle Robles is a professional salsa/mambo dancer, photographer/videographer and is an Associate Producer/Librarian for Fusion.