Have you ever lost your phone, or had it stolen? A new security service from Lookout aims to help you recover your phone – and it takes a picture to help catch you the phone thief.
The mobile security firm launched the new app to discourage smartphone theft.
When the app notices suspicious behaviour, it emails the phone’s owner. The email is triggered by actions that thieves commonly perform after stealing a phone, like entering an incorrect password too many times, removing the SIM card or turning off the device.
For added security and a Big Brother touch, the app will direct your phone to secretly take a photo of whoever is messing with it. It uses the front-facing camera to take a ‘theftie’ of the person, and sends it to you in an email along with the phone’s location.
Critics, meanwhile, point out that the app is not without its faults. If the person isn’t holding the phone directly in front of them, it can be difficult to get a picture of the thief’s face. The covert nature of the photo is also raising a number of privacy concerns.
Before releasing the app, Lookout conducted a study through IDG Research on phone theft in America. The study found that 68 per cent of phone theft victims weren’t able to recover their stolen device. It also found that 68 per cent were likely to put their personal safety at risk if it might lead to recovering their photos, videos, music, and other personal data.
While there isn’t one single solution that will completely alleviate phone theft, the company hopes the problem can be reduced with industry collaboration, new technology, and widespread awareness of the best practices for protecting your phone.