Parents and untrustworthy lovers, you must now spy on your close ones the old fashioned way. Google has pulled the plug on Secret SMS Replicator, an app that could be installed on an Android phone, run covertly in the background, and forward all text messages a person sends and receives to another phone number. The app was uploaded to the Android Market last Wednesday and pulled by evening, reports the New York Times. The cries of a thousand insecure boyfriends and over-controlling mothers could be heard in the night air.
“This app is certainly controversial, but can be helpful to people in relationships where this type of monitoring can be useful,” said Zak Tanjeloff, CEO of the app’s developer, DLP Mobile. “The app is unique because there is no visible icon or shortcut to access it, so once it’s installed, it will continue to monitor without revealing itself.”
It is unlikely the app will make it back onto the Android Market. A Google spokesperson said the app violates the Android Market Content Policy and has been suspended. The app invades users’ personal privacy, which is against the rules Google lays out for developers wishing to have apps displayed on the Android Market. There are other app markets opening up for Android, and it is possible that Secret SMS Replicator could find its way onto a more lenient app store in the future.
Though DLP Mobile releases dozens of iPhone apps each year, there are no plans for an iOS version of SMS Replicator. “We can’t build it for the iPhone because it wouldn’t make it past the App Store approval process,” Mr. Tanjeloff said.
What are your thoughts? Should this app be banned? Do you wish you had such a tool to spy on your untrustworthy spouse?