'Boyfriend Tracker' App Is Beyond Creepy: Brazil's Rastreador de Namorados Removed From Google Play Store As Tracking Features Reach NSA Levels Of Privacy Invasion

By Cammy Harbison August 22, 2013 3:06 PM EDT
A Brazilian Boyfriend Tracker app,  Rastreador de Namorados, was recently removed from the Google Play store after numerous complaints of NSA level privacy violations, and potential for stalking and extortion (Photo: Rastreador de Namorados)
A Brazilian Boyfriend Tracker app, Rastreador de Namorados, was recently removed from the Google Play store after numerous complaints of NSA level privacy violations, and potential for stalking and extortion (Photo: Rastreador de Namorados)

A "Boyfriend Tracker" app Rastreador de Namorados, was all the rage in Brazil over the last couple of months, accruing over 50,000 downloads in the country before it was removed from the Google Play Store due to stalking and privacy issues. Known lovingly as a "private detective in your pocket," many women in Brazil were outraged to discover the app had been pulled from the Android app store, and one user even asserted that privacy issues shouldn't be cited.

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According to 47-year-old Marcia Almeida, "It's a different type of spying [than the NSA] ... you're checking up on somebody you know intimately, not some stranger."

Right...

I don't know about you but, doesn't that almost make it worse? While the NSA can lock you in prison for years, that might be preferable to the fury of a scorned lover. Not to mention crazy girlfriends or stalker boyfriends who just can't let go after a breakup.

Though it's not the first boyfriend tracker app to make its way to Android, Apple or other smartphone devices, it certainly has caused a stir in Brazil where jealous wives and girlfriends who appreciated the service the app offered bemoan the fact that keeping track of wayward lovers just got a little bit harder.

Brazil's women are mourning the loss of Rastreador de Namorados, a
Brazil's women are mourning the loss of Rastreador de Namorados, a "Boyfriend Tracker" app which had seriously creepy skills, only rivaled by the NSA in privacy violation (Photo: Reuters)

So how exactly did this Brazilian "Boyfriend Tracker" app Rastreador de Namorados work?

Basically a suspicious lover simply had to download the app to his or her love interest's Android smartphone and wham, bam, thank you ma'am, spying on your unsuspecting significant other begins. How can you keep your boyfriend (or girlfriend for that matter) from knowing he's being tracked? Apparently the app maker, Matheus Grijo, thought of that too and turned it into an opportunity to pull in some extra moolah. The free boyfriend tracker version leaves the app's icon visible but paying a $2 a month fee will render the app invisible. That's a pretty nominal amount actually considering the cost of a private detective.

The boyfriend tracker app provided services such as giving the "tracker" information and updates on his or her partner's whereabouts via GPS. In addition, the boyfriend tracker app also had the ability to send a copy of every text sent or received from the phone being tracked to the tracker. The part where it gets especially creepy and weird is here: this app allowed the tracker to force the boyfriend's phone to call them. This would be done without the boyfriend who is being tracked knowing, allowing the tracker to overhear anything that is said — or um, done — via the open connection.

Rastreador de Namorados, a boyfriend tracker app was recently removed from the Google Play store. Though other similar apps have been found on iPhone and other devices this app caused a huge stir in Brazil wiht over 50,000 downloads in 2 months (Photo: Rastreador de Namorados)
Rastreador de Namorados, a boyfriend tracker app was recently removed from the Google Play store. Though other similar apps have been found on iPhone and other devices this app caused a huge stir in Brazil wiht over 50,000 downloads in 2 months (Photo: Rastreador de Namorados)

Yep, if you've got a cheating boyfriend, it's safe to say the boyfriend tracker app would figure it out. Meanwhile, the rest of us will be looking at you and wondering why you're still with the guy or gal.

Now I can see a case where the marriage is nearly through, a spouse is suspected of being unfaithful and some "proof" is needed to seal the deal, but honestly, I hope you all are finding it pretty disturbing that this many people in Brazil — namely women — feel the need to track their boyfriends on a regular basis.

Either these guys have absolutely no problem with crazed ex's finding them later and doing gosh know what to them (I don't even want to imagine the number of toilets that were cleaned with a cheating boyfriend's toothbrush because of this) or these chicks have a real problem — be it with security or choosing the right lovers.

But perhaps I'm being a bit harsh. I mean after all, it's not as though this is the first boyfriend tracking app we've ever seen, or that Brazillian women are alone in their desire to know if they're spouse or significant other is remaining true to them.

Similar apps have made their way to smartphone users in Europe, the U.S. and Japan, but Boyfriend Tracker is the first to cause such a big stir.

Rastreador de Namorados, isn't the first app that has ever been used to track a cheating spouse. GOS apps such as Facebook's Friends Finder app has also been known to break up a relationship or two (Photo: Screenshot)
Rastreador de Namorados, isn't the first app that has ever been used to track a cheating spouse. GOS apps such as Facebook's Friends Finder app has also been known to break up a relationship or two (Photo: Screenshot)

Though Google refused to comment on why Rastreador de Namorados, the "Boyfriend Tracker" app, was removed from the Google Play store, apparently there were numerous complaints about privacy abuses. A concern that the app could be used to extort or stalk unsuspecting people was also raised and violation of the recently enacted Brazilian anti-online harassment and hacking law was cited.

The law, which was named after Brazilian actress Carolina Dieckmann, was put into place this April after hackers tried to extort her by leaking naked photos of her online because she wouldn't pay them the $5,000 requested.

If this was the NSA we were talking about, it seems likely that no one would have any issue with the boyfriend tracker app being removed from Google app store — particularly not Brazilians who have been vocal about their support of Edward Snowden for exposing NSA's privacy invading practices. There is always a fine line, however, when it comes to privacy with people in intimate relationships. In fact, few people would raise an eyebrow at parent installing some kind of GPS tracking app on their child's cell phone for safety and keeping tabs on their locations.

The app maker, Grijo, insists the app did not violate any Brazilian laws, yet it looks like "Boyfriend Tracker" app won't be reappearing on Brazil's Google Play store any time soon. For those who just can't get enough of the spouse-tracking action the Boyfriend Tracker  app Rastreador de Namorados offered,  apparently it can still be downloaded from the maker's personal website.

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