Cellphone device used to spy on unfaithful spouses

EAVESDROPPING: From mobile phones that double as transmitters to private eyes in far-away countries, companies are banking on the suspicions of spouses


Fri, Feb 23, 2007 - Page 2

A note to the unfaithful: Wary spouses are going high-tech.

Responding to popular demand among wives whose husbands frequently visit China on business, due diligence companies are marketing new mobile phone eavesdropping technology for wives to listen in on their hubbies' phone conversations there.

The Liberty Times (the Taipei Times' sister newspaper), reported that Taiwanese due diligence and other private investigation companies now offer clients rigged mobile phones that seem average enough but are actually cued in to a secret receiver.

The technology allows its user in Taiwan to eavesdrop on all outgoing and incoming calls on the rigged phone, even in China.

The technology is a big leap forward from previous devices sold by Taiwanese due diligence companies: Not only can its Taiwan-based users eavesdrop on calls on phones in far-flung overseas locations, but the phone users are typically none the wiser, the report said.

Previous related technology, on the other hand, often disrupted the phone user's reception, defeating the purpose of the technology and tipping off the phone user.

When eavesdropping is not enough, many due diligence companies can ratchet up their services to include paying off Chinese police to follow a cheating Taiwanese husband and catch him, literally, with his pants down, the report added.

Most such companies now boast "adultery investigation" units for Taiwanese clients who are eager to dig up proof of their husbands' extramarital affairs in China, and the profit margins are huge.

For NT$100,000 to NT$200,000, investigators can track and photograph a cheating husband in China, employing the eyes and ears of local police when needed, the report said.

Such services often include finding out the details of the mistress, including her address and contact information, the report added.

Actual photographs of the husband with his mistress in bed come at an extra charge of somewhere between NT$200,000 to NT$500,000.

Although such services and evidence are pricey, they could prove to be a sound investment for a wife seeking a generous divorce settlement package.

Solid evidence could also result in a year of jail time and a stiff fine for the unfaithful husband in China, which has strict laws against extramarital affairs.