Monitoring apps and spyware are often believed to be two sides of the same coin due to their core purpose, i.e. gathering information. However, this is a huge misconception as there are significant differences between the two. If you already use, or are planning on using either kind of app, it may be a very good idea for you to learn the difference between them, lest you find the unawareness costly later on. So without further ado, let’s take a look at what sets a monitoring app and spyware apart.
Difference in Approach
Both these technologies work differently. Monitoring apps, as the name implies, are used to monitor online or cellular activities. If you’ve ever stumbled across http://www.stealthmate.com/android-monitoring-software or other such tools, then you may already be familiar with monitoring apps. A distinctive practice associated with these apps is that they are usually installed on a device after taking the owner of the device into confidence.
On the contrary, spyware is installed on the target device secretly because their core purpose is to covertly snoop on the owner of the device, including their calls, text messages, pictures, videos, etc. Once the tool is discovered by the person being spied on, the purpose as well as effectiveness is very much lost.
Differences in Usage
The nature of their use also make monitoring apps and spyware different from each other. Monitoring apps are generally used for keeping eyes on kids or employees, etc. Although spyware may be used for a similar purpose, they are more commonly used for malicious activities like data theft, spying on partners, snooping on other’s communications, etc.
Technology is neither legal nor illegal. It all depends on how we use it. This particularly holds true for monitoring apps and spyware. Monitoring apps are mostly legal as they are normally installed on devices owned by parents or employers, and in use of kids and employees respectively. Furthermore, before installation, the consent of people using the said devices is sought. On the other hand, spyware is largely considered illegal as it is typically installed without permission and is mostly used for exploiting and exposing others by stealing the data on their phones.
Ethical and Moral Differences
The fact that an app is legal does not automatically make it ethical or moral to use. Monitoring apps are usually considered ethical and moral to use as long as you are using them to keep an eye on minors, employees or anyone else with their consent, and are not exceeding the reasonable scope of monitoring.
However, anything beyond this scope is dangerously close to being classified as unethical and immoral. In the same way, spy apps are ethical and moral to use only if you have good intentions, e.g. protecting your reasonable and legitimate interests. The reason why spyware is considered unethical and immoral to use is the fact that most people use this technology to find the weaknesses of others and exploit them.