Categories: AppsGlobal Tech News

Android App Take Pictures of Phone Thieves From Unlock Screen

“Smile you’re on candid camera.”

Some phone thieves may soon find their ugly mugs revealed by an enterprising new Android app entitled “GotYa”.  The full title is “GotYa! Face trap ! Anti Th**t”, to be specific, but GotYa suffices.  The app is made by MBFG.

The Android app, once installed, is set up and activated via a web interface.  Once installed it can be activated to take pictures when ever someone touches the phone when at the lock screen.  These pictures are bundled with a Google Maps location link and then sent to you via email or Facebook message.

GotYa, an Android app for catching thieves [Source: Redmond Pie]
The sneaky app is activated when the mark makes an unsuccessful attempt at unlocking your phone.  However, it requires you to turn on Android’s built-in lock screen feature, if you haven’t already.  Intuitively, it also requires a front-facing camera, so some budget Android handsets won’t be supported.

The app is currently selling for a modest $1.99 USD on the Android Market.  A crippled free version is also available, but beware it applies a big watermark to pictures and lowers their resolution.  The paid app removes the watermark, takes pictures at full resolution, and allows geotagging/messaging.

The app also has the capability to display a warning to thieves when they try the unlock and to remotely request location, call back, and play alarm sounds through SMS commands.

You can find these apps here:

  • Download GotYa Free [Market Link]
  • Download GotYa Paid [Market Link]

Have an iPhone or iPod Touch and want to get some of this camera love?  You can find a similar app entitled “iGotYa”, available on the underground Cydia app store for jailbroken iOS devices.

These apps aren’t anything new — they’re just a bit better at gather incriminating evidence than past apps/features, such as Apple Inc.’s (AAPL) high profile “Find My iPhone” feature.

While these kinds of apps/features do allow well-intention customers to find, confront, and/or direct law enforcement to device thieves, they also raise some sticky privacy issues.  Namely, there’s always the potential for significant others to install the apps surreptitiously on your phone to monitor your whereabouts.  

Further, in theory they could also be used by a stalker, if they were somehow able to get access to your phone and get past the unlock screen to install the app.  That possibility sounds relatively unlikely at first, but remember people often give service technicians these privileges for laptops and smartphones — and some technicians have abused these privileges to stalk customers in the past.

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