It was a mundane banking issue that led to Catharine Higginson’s discovery that her husband had been spying on her via a tracking app.
According to the Mirror, the 42-year-old English teacher (that is, she’s a teacher in England, not a teacher of English) was at work one day when she saw that she had missed a text from her bank about a money transfer.
“When I got home I started to apologise to my husband James who immediately replied, ‘Oh, don’t worry about it – I’ve sorted it.'”
Then Catharine’s husband casually dropped a major bomb, like it was no big deal.
“I was able to get into your phone and locate the code to activate the transaction… I don’t need you here to be able to read your text messages.”
James had installed a tracking app, called Cerebus, on not only Catharine’s phone, but on the phones of her three kids from her first marriage: Daisy, 19, Tilly, 16, and Max, 12.
The range of spying options available to James via his favorite tracking app would make an NSA employee drool. Casually sitting at his computer, James can read all of his wife’s and his stepkids’ text conversations; he can listen to their conversations that actually involve speaking; he can see their exact location via GPS; he can even watch what’s happening via the phone’s camera.
And there’s the kicker: Catherine is okay with it!
“While I was very shocked at first about the extent of the snooping I ultimately don’t have a problem with him doing this because I’m not up to anything.”
Needless to say, Catharine’s tolerance of the amount of spying her husband does on her and her kids has rubbed some the wrong way. Even Catharine’s friends are appalled.
“When I posted about it on Facebook friends were shocked. One wrote: ‘I’d leave my husband if he did that.'”
Mirror writer Fleet Street Fox (pen name of Susan Boniface) writes that this level of spying within a marriage rubs her the wrong way, too.
“No, what’s really clanging a panicky version of Big Ben in my ear is the fact that Catherine seems as happy to lie down and take it.”
CNET writer Rick Broida believes that family-tracking apps makes sense, at least on the surface. After all, what parent wouldn’t want to be sure that, say, their child made it home from school safely, or that their teen daughter hadn’t taken up with a drifter? But he also admits that privacy, even within families, is important.
“But do apps like this represent an invasion of privacy? This gray area is definitely open for debate.”
Do you believe it’s right for a husband to monitor his wife’s every text, every conversation, and every move via a spy tracking app? Share your thoughts in the comments below.