Science & technology
Lookout App Uses Device Camera to Take ‘Thieftie’ of Whoever Steals Your Phone
Publish Date: Jun 02, 2014
Lookout App Uses Device Camera to Take ‘Thieftie’ of Whoever Steals Your Phone
  • mail
  • img
newvision

If you’ve ever had your phone stolen, there’s probably nothing you wanted more than to punch the thief right in the nose — if only you knew what that nose looked like. Lookout Mobile Security’s app, available for Android and iOS, can now provide you a picture of just that, along with the face to which it’s attached, automatically, via its Theft Alerts functionality.

Theft Alerts is a simple idea that could be useful: If Lookout detects suspicious behavior on your smartphone, it will automatically use the device’s front-facing camera to snap a picture of the supposed perpetrator and email it to you, along with his location.

Lookout is not the first program to do this; other apps such as Lockwatch automatically take photos when a phone’s security settings are tampered with, and other mobile-security apps let you manually take remote photos with your phone and try to track down thieves. However, Theft Alerts does represent the first time automatic photo functionality has been integrated into a comprehensive mobile-security suite rather than used as a standalone program.

With Theft Alerts activated, Lookout will monitor your phone for suspicious behavior. If someone removes your SIM card, turns on Airplane Mode, enters your passcode incorrectly, turns off your phone or attempts to remove Lookout, the camera will activate and you’ll receive an email with a photograph and location of the supposed malefactor.

All five Theft Alert triggers apply to the Android app; because of Apple’s restrictions, only the first two work on iOS. If you do any of these actions yourself frequently, you can change Lookout’s settings to ignore them.

While the program sounds like a great idea, its practical value is most likely very limited. Having a photograph and a rough location of a phone thief will not do the average person much good. A phone’s GPS can only pinpoint a general area (like a street corner), not an exact house or a location in an apartment building. Even on the off chance that the thief takes a perfect selfie (or “theftie,” as Lookout calls it), identifying strangers with a single screenshot is not easy, especially in crowded areas where a thief could be constantly on the move.

Still, if you’re often in situations where your phone could get stolen and want some peace of mind, even in the form of a placebo, Theft Alerts is bundled into Lookout Mobile Security Premium, which costs $2.99 per month or $29.99 per year. It may not help you retrieve your phone, but at least you’ll have a person’s face to associate with your ire.

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
N. Korea denies involvement in Sony cyber attack
North Korea's UN mission denies involvement in a cyber attack on Sony Pictures after the US FBI said it had evidence that Pyongyang was behind the hacking....
Sony hack a
Cyber attacks that ultimately prompted Sony Pictures to scrap the release of a madcap comedy about North Korea are a "serious national security matter," the White House said...
Apple co-founder Wozniak skeptical on smartwatches, Google Glass
Steve Wozniak says he is no fan of smartwatches and believes Google Glass will fail as he cautioned not to expect the company he co-founded, Apple, to always lead the way into new technologies....
Hackers trick way into ICANN computers
The private agency that acts as a gatekeeper for the Internet on Wednesday said that hackers tricked their way into its computers....
Venus probe ends after it runs out of fuel
The space probe that spent eight years carrying out a detailed analysis of Venus is out of fuel, and is set to die....
Dutch privacy watchdog probes Facebook
A Dutch government-affiliated watchdog has said it is probing changes in Facebook's privacy policy, the latest skirmish in a wider fight over the commercial use of online personal data...
Do you agree with the ban on the export of maids?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter