Spying on what employees are doing on their PCs in the office is as old as the PC itself.

It’s considered a right of the employer to put spyware on workers’ desktop computers, although generally it’s considered bad taste to log the keystrokes of everyone. It should be limited only to those who are reasonably under suspicion.

But a number of organizations now also buying smart phone and tablet tracking and monitoring software to keep an eye on what employees are doing with their mobile devices. ComputerWorld U.S. has an interview with a U.S. company called mSpy, which sells an application that captures call logs, captures keystrokes tracks text messages, read email, tracks phone location as well as does the usual things mobile management software can do like remote wipe.

It’s not cheap, though: For a business pricing starts at $105 a month, and it can only be used on a handset the employer has permission to monitor.

Competitors include PhoneSheriff, Mobile Spy, My Mobile Watchdog, MobiStealth, StealthGenie, SpyPhone Basic Internet, SpyBubble, E-Blaster Mobile and Flexispy.

The solutions  are best installed on company-owned devices, but widespread use is probably financially prohibitive and not necessary – and if the organization has a BYOD policy, impossible to lawfully install without the owner’s knowledge.

If you have concerns about what a staffer is doing with a mobile device, their monthly bill probably has enough evidence for action to be justified.

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Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of ITWorldCanada.com and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including ITBusiness.ca and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@] soloreporter.com