Is It Illegal To Spy On Someone’s Cell Phone?

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There’s no doubt in saying that the idea of spying only pops in your head when you’re either concerned about your loved ones or don’t trust them.

In the case of the kids, the monitoring apps are used to make sure the child is safe. Moreover, the app checks that the kid is not misusing the cell phone.

In the case of the employees, spying is done in order to check that they are not leaking the company’s information to anyone or indulging in time theft. Similarly, in the case of a spouse or partner, the need for the tracking app is felt when you doubt your partner’s loyalty.

It’s really easy to install and use the spying app and there are plenty of capable tracking apps available. But the question is, is it legal to do so?

It’s very important to know about the legality of such apps before using them. Because your single mistake can even lead you to stand behind the bars.

Stick around with me to learn if it’s illegal to spy on someone’s cell phone from each and every angle. After that, make a wise decision as to whether you’re comfortable working under the legal scenario or not.

Table Of Contents

Baiting By The Spying Apps

bait by tracking apps

Yes, that’s true. The spying apps will always lure you to go for their services by any means necessary.

They will show you some catchy images like a kid’s phone getting tracked, the spouse caught cheating, etc.

Or they might use some catchy phrases to grab your attention. “Know who your partner is talking to late till night.” “Catch your cheating partner with this amazing tracking app.” “Keep an eye on your employees and make sure they’re not sharing confidential information of the company.”

The company will adopt all these types of tricks to pull the customers and convince them to buy the services.

Another way to lure the customer is by giving offers on their pricing plans. Pay for three or twelve months straight and save a lot of money.

This will not only make you their customer but they will successfully retain you for a long period of time.

Some spy apps also come with a free trial with full access to their plans. And there are almost full chances that you’ll fall for their features and ultimately buy the app.

But what these apps won’t reveal in open is their legality. While installing the app, there will be a pop-up related to their terms and conditions, and that too written in small letters, which mostly all of us ignore.

Except for that, you won’t find any statement on these spy software sites that states how their service can be harmful to you.

So it’s better not to fall for their marketing tactics and learn whether is it illegal to look through someone’s phone or not before you put spyware on someone’s device.

Is It Illegal To Spy On Someone Without Permission?

is it illegal to spy on someone's cell phone

How would you feel if you get to know that someone is spying on your cell phone without permission?

Obviously, you’ll be shocked to know that you’re phone is being accessed without your consent. There are laws against spying that state that it is illegal to spy on anyone without them knowing about it. However, there are still many people out there who are being spied on on a daily basis.

After putting spyware on someone’s phone one can listen to their call recordings, track their location, see their activities on social media sites and do much more. All of these are punishable offenses in the eyes of the law.

The punishment for illegally spying on your spouse’s phone or reading someone’s text messages without them knowing is different in different countries. But it’s not legal to spy on someone’s cell phone without their consent and that’s for sure.

Punishments can be related to fines, remuneration to the target person, and even jail. So what does that mean, are spy apps illegal? Well, not if you use them lawfully. Now you must be wondering how to use spyware legally, aren’t you?  Don’t worry keep reading the article and I will tell you how to look through someone’s phone without breaking the law.

There are plenty of spying apps in the market and it’s obvious that they all exist as they are working in a legal manner.

So, all you need to do is, learn the appropriate way to use these spying apps. You should be aware of their legal and illegal use. And that’s enough to save you from all the possible legal threats attached to tracking apps.

Taking Consent

The most important thing that needs to be kept in mind while spying on someone’s phone is that you can legally access someone’s phone only after taking their consent.

Yes, it is true that in most cases, spying becomes useless if the target person knows about the installation of the spying app.

However, you’ll find yourself in big trouble if somehow the target person gets to know about the installation of the spy app. They might sue you or at least end their relationship with you.

Tracking Of  A Child

kid monitoring

If you are a parent of a minor and want to know whether is it illegal to go through a child’s phone without permission then let me tell you that it is not illegal at all. Until your child turns 18, you can put a spy app on their phone to monitor their online activities for their safety.

Even though it’s not necessary to tell the teens about the installation of a tracking app on their phone, it’s suggested you reveal it to them.

You should make the child understand, how a spy app will work in their favor. And how, it’s for their own benefit.

The only reason I suggest you disclose the spy app is that it will lead to a better understanding between you and your kids.

Otherwise, they might think that you don’t trust them, which will lead to an unhealthy relationship. One of the best parental control apps for iPhone and Android devices is FamiSafe. While testing FamiSafe, I found it to be highly accurate and value for money.

Monitoring Employees At The Workplace

If you run a business then you must want to know whether is it legal to spy on your employees or not? Well, I have good news for you, you can actually spy on your employees at the workplace using employee tracking software or surveillance devices.

track employees with spy apps

It’s your right to keep track of your employees during work hours to prevent any damage to the business, and it’s totally legal, but make sure you do not spy on their personal stuff or leak any of their private details in the public. If you do so then your employee can sue you.

However, when it comes to monitoring employees outside of work then it’s a big no-no! You should not track your employees when they are off duty, if you do then tell them in advance that you are going to do so.

Is It Illegal To Access Someone’s Phone Without Permission? Verdict

This article just shares some major legal procedures that everyone needs to follow for the appropriate use of tracking software like iKeyMonitor and mSpy.

But other rules and regulations might differ from country to country.

So make sure you are following all the legal norms and using the spy app without going against the law.

Also, don’t forget to read the legal user agreement and terms and conditions of the app before using it to track someone.

If you follow all the guidelines according to the law then it is totally legal to use a spy app to monitor someone.


Is it legal to look through someone's phone without permission?

No, it is absolutely illegal to check someone's phone without taking their consent unless you have the warrant to do so.

Is it illegal to read someone's text messages on their phone?

No, it's not illegal to do so as long as you have taken their consent.

Can you sue someone for sharing private messages and information?

If the conversation was private and the person hasn't taken your consent before doing so, in that case, you can sue another person for sharing private messages and information.

About the Author

Ankit Prasad, an engineer driven by a passion for digital safety, founded SpyDrill to simplify cybersecurity. With a modest approach, Ankit shares insights on parental control and monitoring apps and effective protection measures. His aim is to empower users with practical knowledge, bridging the gap between technology and everyday understanding. An advocate for digital literacy, Ankit's commitment to demystifying cyber threats underscores his dedication to creating a safer online environment for all.

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