Mobile Apps

Peeping Tom Smartphone Apps Now Available In Japan, United States Is Next

In the case of many Smartphones the built-in camera produces a shutter noise, alerting everyone around that a photo has been taken, however that shutter noise may soon be a thing of the past on many devices thanks to a new series of “peeping tom” apps that allow covert photo taking.

Better known as “silent” apps the programs have been blamed for an increase in illicit photography throughout Japan and they may soon arrive in the United States.

According to the Mercury News there were more than 1,741 reported incidents in 2011, a 60% increase over five years earlier.

While some phones already allow for silent picture taking, such as the iPhone 4 which can turn off the shutter sound by simply turning off the phones volume controls the apps go even one step further by displaying fake email screens and other distractions which make the users motives seem 100 percent normal.

In one report researchers said of the new technology:

“The latest applications include ‘upgraded versions’ that enable people to silently take photos while an email or website is displayed on the phone’s screen to provide cover for the surreptitious picture-taking.”

While Apple more closely monitors its app environment Google Android’s Marketplace has a nearly “anything goes” acceptance policy before publication.

Do you think the use of “silent apps” should be banned in order to protect unsuspecting victims or should people be more cautious about their surroundings?