iPhone thieves better watch out. iGotYa app is on the market, and it's helping theft victims catch those who dare to leave their hands empty.
A 31-year-old Queens woman is the latest to benefit from iGotYa technology. After a man swiped her iPhone Monday evening, she received an email from the app's servers. It contained a photo of the suspect and his exact coordinates.
His face is now plastered all over the Internet.
Available only from Cyndia, the iGotYa app utilizes the iPhone's front-facing camera. It takes a picture of whoever inputs the wrong password when unlocking the phone. The app then emails the picture and GPS coordinates to the phone's owner. Evidence can then be turned over to police.
While this seems like an absolutely brilliant idea, there are a few caveats.
The iGotYa app is not sold by Apple. This means that it can only be used on "jailbroken" phones. U.S. regulators legalized the practice last year, but Apple contends that it jeopardizes a phone's security.
Snapping photos of iPhone thieves may also be illegal--yes, even if it is your phone. Depending on the photo, it may invade a person's privacy.
You need permission to take a photo in situations where a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy. It's generally reasonable to expect privacy in one's own home. What if the iGotYa app photographed your iPhone thief while he was lying in bed? Naked?
There's a decent argument that you've just invaded his privacy. It might ultimately fail, but it's certainly something to consider.
Which is why you might want to consider other modes of theft protection. In addition to iGotYa app, Apple offers Find My iPhone app. It provides a phone's approximate location, but doesn't take photos.