Tales of a Cyberstalker (Vol. 7 of 8)

OnStar and iPhones and Droids, Oh My!!!![1]

Disclaimer:  Again, this blog is NOT meant to provide your rabid frenemy aka your friendly neighborhood cyberstalker with an arsenal of new materials to follow and harass you.  Yes, that was a CYA.[2]  I have my suspicions that there are still a few crazies out there still reading this blog.

With that said, there are a number of devices including Android phones, Apple devices and GPS tracking devices such as OnStar that make it easier to track, harass and threaten their victims.

In last week’s blog, we discussed tracking by Google in Android devices via the Pessano case.  This week we will discuss the ability of Apple devices and the OnStar system to track a cyberstalker victim.  We will also look at the tracking features within the devices themselves and the actual capability of the devices to actually track individuals.

In October of this year, Apple released iCloud, a remote computer server service that allows users to store data such as music, video and documents for later download to multiple devices.[3]

 

ICloud came on board with the release of Apple’s new operating system upgrade.  Also contained in the upgrade is software for tracking your mobile devices and Apple apps. See http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2011/04/27Apple-Q-A-on-Location-Data.html.  In essence, Apple created its own personal LoJack system for its devices and apps.  In Apple’s privacy statement, Apple claims that they do not track individuals.  Instead, any tracking software is used in conjunction with its location-based services.[4]   Apple’s privacy policy also states that any personal information it collects is anonymous and encrypted and only the information necessary to run its apps is collected.[5]  However, even if Apple is stalking you, I am sure you are more concerned with the possibility that an ex-boyfriend, spouse or psycho cellmate could one day cyberstalk you via your Apple mobile device.  All one needs to do is enter iCloud with a password and track the laptop, iPhone or iPad.  You can even send a tune or message through the cloud to your Apple device.  For all you stalkers with the personal password to your prey’s device, you can track movements and sent your threatening messages even by song.  Again, Every Breathe You Take or the Psycho theme, are great selections.  The cloud even bypasses any volume indicators remotely.  But if freaking out your victim with a few remote messages is not enough MobiSlealth[6] goes farther.  MobiSlealth is an iPhone 4 tracker app.  The program works by downloading the tracker app onto the iPhone 4 (the phone must be jailbroken).  The app will not appear on the phone so that the phone’s owner will not know that you have added the software.  MobiSlealth not only tracks the location of an iPhone, but it also allows the stalker to read emails and text messages, view photos, call logs and browse the phone’s history, and remotely monitor and record the surroundings.  For you cyberstalkers out there, this is a dream and the cost is just $40 for 3 months and $150 for 12 months.   Of course, in MobiSlealth’s disclaimer, the company claims that the software is designed to spy on children and employees and not spouses, significant others or adult children.  (Great, like that is any better.)  MobiSlealth’s informs its purchasers that spying on spouses or significant others or adult children could violate state or local laws and MobiSlealth’s will cooperate with law enforcement. In other word, MobiSlealth will turn your crazy behind over to the Po-Po, but in the meantime, show them the money.

As mentioned previously devices by Apple and Google (Android phones) are not the only tracking devices.  Even the car company, GM, has a tracking device, you may have heard of it,  OnStar.   OnStar is a “real-time communications hub that regulates vehicle security and diagnostic.”[7]  However, according to Jim Kobus, a communications manager at OnStar in an article by Craig Howie of AOL Autos, OnStar cannot track any vehicle’s location until a customer makes contact by his or her own volition or the system detects a blowout or crash.[8]  Kobus further noted the only exception is due to vehicle theft.  At that time OnStar must receive a valid police report to track your vehicle.  If it receives this information, OnStar can remotely slow down a vehicle or stop it.  So for you would be cyberstalkers, OnStar will not do your bidding unless you are bold enough to file a stolen vehicle report with the police and if you had enough information to confirm that the vehicle is in fact yours.  There are two problems for would be cyberstalkers who want to use OnStar’s tracking feature to do its bidding, the first is that filing a false police report could land you in jail and second, you cannot call OnStar all day long claiming that the same vehicle has been stolen in order to track your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend.  Sorry would be cyberstalkers, you need to find another way to track your prey.  As an FYI, OnStar like Google collects and stores data on its customers.  In fact in January of this year, OnStar changed its privacy statement to inform customers that it can continue to collect information on its customers even after they have deactivated the OnStar system.  See http://www.theblaze.com/stories/onstar-announces-tracking-continues-even-after-cancellation/ and OnStar’s privacy policy http://www.onstar.com/web/portal/privacy.

I am sure some of you are wondering if this is cyberstalking because there was no threat.  Let’s remember that if the victim suffers emotional distress, it may be.  It would be hard to make a cyberstalking case against Google, OnStar or Apple for the reasons stated in last week’s blog and the fact that it is unlikely that a potential victim would feel threatened by these.  However, your crazy stalker girlfriend or boyfriend may use these devices to stalk, harass or threaten you.  See Cell Phone Spying Software Leads to Mobile Cyberstalking Nightmare in the attached http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/cell-phone-spying-software-leads-cyberstalking-nightmare/story?id=10020677#.TtWEkWC618s.  In the article a woman discusses how her ex-boyfriend planted spyware on her cell phone.  The boyfriend was in jail for felony cyberstalking and planned on killing her shortly after he was released.  The spyware he installed allowed him to see not only her location but other information on her phone.  He also sent her message such as “How was dinner?” shortly around the time she had dinner.  Eerie.  I don’t know about you, but I would be scared.

In conclusion, there are a number of ways to track, harass and threaten an individual using today’s technology as illustrated by OnStar, iPhone and Droid, oh my!  Furthermore, there are more gadgets and software that can do the same.  However, it is better that you are aware of the technology and take the necessary precautions to minimize your cyber footprints.  Do not take those incriminating pictures with your mobile devices, turn off location devices, read the pop-ups prior downloading an app, be mindful of the cloud and again contact your congressman and let them know to vote for the Do Not Track Online Act of 2011.

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~ by sjohn7887 on December 1, 2011.

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