Niche software: spying and surveillance

George Smiley, spy master extraordinaireOne of the great things about working for a software portal is that you get to see a lot of software that passes other users by. From Palm OS applications for monitoring your car’s fuel consumption to games set in fashion boutiques, I’ve seen it all. But few niche software categories are as unusual (or potentially worrying) as the programs designed for surveillance and spying.

Most programs in this genre offer somewhat unconvincing reasons for why you should install them. Key-logging applications suggest that their main use is “not for spying” but to help you remember all your passwords, license keys and email addresses. And how about a program which can send you photos from a remote cell phone, the description for which suggests “…if you are not at work you can monitor an operating machinery or supervise your office”? Yeah.

Actually, there are perfectly legitimate reasons for using this sort of software: keeping tabs on your kids’ computer use or your home while you’re away (though a mobile phone camera-based surveillance system is no substitute for a nanny) are both decent things to do. But remember that a key-logger or a camera app won’t actually stop bad things from happening, so much as record them when they do. Still, if you’re interested, here are my top surveillance apps at Softonic:

  • Revealer Keylogger – a free, safe key-logging program for Windows
  • Anti Keylogger Shield – used to protect yourself against the program above
  • Argus Remote Surveillance for S60 – ‘monitor’ your ‘office’ while you’re ‘away’
  • SpyCall – record conversations on your cellphone (illegal if it’s done without permission)
  • Classroom Spy – keep an eye on your students’ monitors from your desk
  • SpyMe – monitor your Mac remotely
  • Golden Eye – if only for the name – complete info on how your PC is used
  • PhotoSpy! – turn your phone into a secret surveillance tool
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