A Japanese firm that marketed a smartphone application to girlfriends and wives who wanted to keep an eye on their philandering partners has toned down its service over privacy complaints.
The application, released by Tokyo-based Manuscript, did not show an icon on the screen when it was being utilised, meaning that the owner of the smartphone might not even realise that it had been installed.
First launched on August 30, the application could be installed into a smartphone and a computer could then be used to monitor the whereabouts of the device – and, presumably, the owner, through its GPS data.
The basic charge was Y525 (4.31 pounds) a month, which provided the location of the phone and the amount of energy left in the phone’s battery. For the 15.83-pound “platinum plan,” however, the member would be able to access the list of all the calls that had been made from the phone, the dates, times and durations, as well as other applications that had been installed.
Critically, the application did not show an icon on the screen when it was being utilised, meaning that the owner of the smartphone might not even realise that it had been installed.
The initial version of the service was downloaded more than 24,000 times in 10 weeks, Yoshinori Miura, president of Manuscript, told The Daily Telegraph. The new version has already been snapped up 500 times in less than 24 hours, he said.
“We had around 60 complaints by email but I cannot count how many phone calls we took from people who were unhappy that it had been installed on their phones,” Miura admitted, adding that it had also been criticised in online forums.
The new service is described as a “location service for lovers,” the company said.