A New York man used an iPhone app to verify his wife’s whereabouts in a case that illustrates a possible drawback to location services and privacy in mobile devices.
Thomas Metz reported he bought his wife the new iPhone 4S this weekend and installed the Find My Friends app on the device. The app enables viewing locations of friends who have allowed you to follow them. When he called to ask where she was, her response didn’t match up with the information the app was providing, which pointed to a suspected boyfriend’s home.
The next location the two will meet up is most likely a lawyer’s office, Metz said, indicating the app confirmed his fears of his spouse’s infidelity.
The veracity of this story, which was posted on MacRumors forum, cannot be ascertained, but incidents such as these may become more frequent as increasingly sophisticated technology and social networking reveals personal information.
Leading attorneys reportedly advise clients to refrain from making disparaging remarks about their soon-to-be ex-spouse or any professional involved in divorce proceedings on Facebook because the postings may be used in court.
Even if a person doesn’t think their ex-spouse is watching for comments that could be used as evidence a person is cheating, a bad parent, or uncooperative Facebook “friend” could be watching written posts and pictures for them.
An Indianapolis ABC news station recently interviewed a Marion County, Ind. judge, Cynthia Ayers, who told the station that social media is “playing a bigger and bigger role all the time” in custody and child protection cases.
Courts are demonstrating tolerance for this type of evidence in divorce proceedings, too. This summer a New Jersey appellate court ruled that tracking a spouse by GPS isn’t an invasion of privacy.
The New Jersey wife placed a GPS tracking device in the glove compartment of the car that she jointly owned with her spouse and was then able to follow him — right onto the driveway of another woman’s house. Despite the husband’s complaint the action was an invasion of his privacy, N.J. appellate Judge Joseph Lisa, Jack Sabatino and Carmen Alvarez decided he had no right to expect privacy because the GPS tracked his movements on public streets.
People are increasingly creating a digital trail of crumbs marking their daily habits and providing a record of their whereabouts to share with others. The downside is that not all of this information is meant to be shared, and in many cases, can be used by people the user has little reason to distrust.