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iPhone app remotely spies on Windows computers

Will Apple Store's anti-spyware rules apply in this case?

Application security programs and practises

Need help using your iPhone to spy on your spouse or children? Now there's an app which will show you just what they're typing, as long as they're on Windows.

Spykey is basically a Windows keylogger which will transmit every key pressed to an iPhone application (£2.99 from the iTunes store). The app justifies itself with the usual arguments about discovering cheating partners or protecting children, and appeared on iTunes yesterday to be spotted by Gizmodo (which also hosts a fun discussion between readers about who is/has the best parent).

Spying applications are always a problem for approval processes; some users (and developers) consider them legitimate applications, but the less paranoid tend to consider such software to be an unacceptable invasion of privacy.

Apple has delisted software that spies on iPhone use before: Retina's Mobile Spy, for example, is now restricted to jailbroken iPhones, though it will still happily monitor Android and Blackberry devices.

Spykey doesn't monitor the iPhone as such, just displays the result of desktop keylogging on the iPhone screen, so might avoid Cupertino's ire. The reviews also suggest that the desktop component (which is Windows only) will trip anti-virus software, and given the popularity of graphical user interfaces one has to question the legitimate value of keylogging anyway.

But putting aside the practicalities, the question is whether Apple will decide to kick the application out of iTunes, on moral grounds, or if the company is OK with an iPhone being used to monitoring the habits of those who've yet to see the Apple light. ®

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