Hey Look! The Suspect is Naked!

Great little article illustrating the benefits and missteps of mobile device tracking solutions. In one misstep, an employee of Absolute Software turned over “salacious” pictures of a woman in possession of a stolen laptop (she had been trading risqué pictures with her long distance boyfriend) to police. Though she claimed not to have known the computer was stolen (the $60 price tag should have been a hint), the police told her that the trading of pictures was dumb. She sued Absolute. A settlement was reached.

Absolute, a young company in the device tracking business, has learned from these and other missteps by putting in various controls (e.g., only technicians can turn on the device cameras, not the victim).

The cost of this software is relatively cheap and it can bring some piece of mind when corporate data is recovered. If the device is in the possession of a 15 year old miscreant, it’s probable that the purpose of the theft was not espionage and that the data was not the target. If there is no recovery, then a business must assume the worst and act accordingly.

Businesses that create and employ this technology need to be mindful how they  use it. Absolute has learned from some of its mistakes. By removing some of the power from the end-user, they can control the flow of information and put in place a sensible and auditable process. Companies may be tempted to spy on their employees. Depending on the country and circumstances, this may be acceptable, but careful partnership with legal counsel is necessary. Other risks are 3rd party hacking for economic espionage as well as law enforcement serving the security company with a warrant to activate the device.

Cool and helpful stuff here, but proceed with caution – as always.

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