Privacy is one of those things that you don’t notice until it is gone.
We invite people to share our secrets, to share our lives, to share our privacy with us.
We never expect the people we invite to violate the trust we have given them.
So what happens when you find out that people you care about aren’t honoring the trust given to them?
Do you keep quiet to keep yourself out of the situation?
Do you confront the betrayer?
This was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) tellornottell3 when she came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for some outside opinions.
“AITA for wanting to tell my brother’s fiancée about the tracking app he secretly installed in the new phone he bought for her?”
OP began quickly with a quick list of the players involved.
“Pretty much the title, My (female – 22) brother (male – 27) is currently engaged to his fiancèe (f25).”
“He bought her a new phone for valentine’s and asked my boyfriend who’s trained in computer and software to install a hidden tracking app on the phone so his fianceè won’t see it or notice.”
“I overheard them talking and when I entered the room they went silent.”
“I waited til my brother left then talked to my boyfriend, he denied having this conversation with my brother first then, admitted to installing the app on the phone.”
Then got right to the problem at hand.
“I told him he and my brother were in the wrong because this is a huge breach of privacy.”
“He said he has nothing to do with it and advised me to stay out of it as well.”
“But I said I want to tell my brother’s fiancèe. My boyfriend argued with me about being nosy and intrusive and told me to stay out of it and let them deal with their own issues.”
“But I thought that was unfair to my future sister-in-law since she’s the one working, paying bills and rent and this is how she is treated?”
“My boyfriend told me gtfo with this attitude and again, said I should stay off it because it does not in any way concern me.”
“I don’t know I feel horrible after hearing about what my brother did and since I have a good relationship with his fiancee I can’t help but feel guilty and want to tell her.”
OP was left to wonder.
“AITA for wanting to tell her?”
Having explained the situation, she turned the question over to Reddit for some outside thoughts.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NTA
Some responses were very direct.
“Your boyfriend really said you were being intrusive, after helping put a tracking device on her phone?!!?”
“Are you sure this is the guy for you, and that he doesn’t have one on your phone?”
“NTA” ~ AppalachianEnvy
“That is controlling and abusive, she has a right to know.”
“Also, based off your BF’s reaction, I would be concerned about there being a tracking app on your phone. Creepy on both their parts.
OP’s boyfriend quickly came under scrutiny.
“As somebody in upper comments stated, it might have been OPs bf that suggested installing the app, bcs let’s be real, who just comes up to a guy with a real fishy request of installing a tracking app on his SO’s phone.”
“More likely is that bf actually proposed the installation himself.” ~ Negative_Racoon
Others suggested some precautions.
“Check all her digital devices for unwelcome apps, check her email for forwarding settings, check her car and bags for gps tags, hell I’m so wigged out by this that I’d consider buying a completely new phone and not telling BF in case her IMEI was cloned.”
“Personally knowing what is possible and also knowing what BF is okay doing is making me extremely wary for OP.” ~ S31-Syntax
“Would also try to back up photos only and maybe do a factory reset of your phone.”
“If he’s as ‘techy’ as he is it may not be an app and something more complicated.”
“Or spontaneously buy a new phone (doesn’t have to be snazzy & you could resell your old one to recoup some costs). CHANGE YOUR PASSWORDS! PLEASE OP!”
“Edit to add- maybe change passwords from a completely different device.”
“Use a friend’s laptop or a public library or anything but your phone if you haven’t been able to reset your phone from possible malware. He will still have access” ~ username_bon
There were, of course, personal stories.
“My ex actually did this to me!”
“He sent his dad to pick up my car and as a ‘gift’ had an auto-start installed for me.”
“Turns out it’s also a GPS! It’s called Drone mobile and he was tracking everywhere I went.”
“Meanwhile, the key fob just says Artic Start so I had no indication at all.”
“His dad actually let it slip (I think intentionally) about the GPS and I had great fun parking in weird places for a month till he finally broke and asked WTH was going on!” ~ La_Murano
Many expressed concern for OP and her brother’s fiancee.
“And not just a new phone, but a new phone number.”
“OP, I am genuinely worried about your safety and well-being right now.”
“Please get a new phone & number and pack your bags immediately.”
“Stay with a friend or your parents if you can.”
“I had a friend go through almost this exact same situation with her boyfriend and he ended up putting her in the hospital after he found out she was planning on leaving.”
“Breathe a word of this to NO ONE except the person you plan on staying with.”
“Please. Get out.”
“(NTA)” ~ bonbam
“I would advise OP and brothers finance to”
“Get out of those relationships ASAP”
“Don’t trust any device that your brother or your BF had any unsupervised access to, even if it was just for a few minutes.”
“Factory reset/reinstall every electronic device they own”
“change every password”
“change every lock”
“Clearly both are creeps that have no regards for your privacy, and while this might seem a bit paranoid, this is an instance of better safe then sorry.” ~ lincoler
“NTA tell her.”
“This is a warning for you as well. I would consider dumping the boyfriend if he thinks its fine being followed.” ~ ludicrousl
There were also legal and ethical concerns.
“This is so so much more than ‘a thing to side eye’.”
“Not even a thing to especially side eye.”
“Orders of magnitude worse. This is very illegal.”
“They’re not putting a toe out of line here, they sprinted past it.”
“You need to get your phone checked out and you need to clue in the other poor girl and then one or both of you needs to think about pressing charges.”
“I cannot further impress how serious this is. You are NOT the one being intrusive. It should be extremely obvious who is being intrusive.”
“Your boyfriend’s answer to your brother’s request should have been ‘holy sh*t, why are you asking me to help you illegally stalk someone??’ “
“Instead, he decided it was fine and helped him do it. You sound like it hasn’t sunk in yet, how extremely dangerous and serious this behavior is.”
“I sincerely hope it sinks in soon.” ~ Astarkraven
“Oh hell no.”
“They are colluding to violate her privacy to control her like she is a child or property.”
“Also, you should have someone check your phone for apps like this, because your boyfriend is comfortable spying on women.”
“Tell her immediately because this is violating her rights as a human being”
“From an ethical point of view, just ask yourself how you would feel if someone knew about this being done to you, and didn’t tell you.” ~ mmahowald
Someone even gave a helpful list.
“Right, u/tellornottell3, It never occurred to you?!?!?”
“I’m concerned for you, let’s list the flags out so it’s really clear.”
“🚩He helped your brother install a tracking app on his fiance’s phone.”
“🚩Your brother somehow understood that he could go to your boyfriend to ask him to help with such an invasive and terrible thing.”
“🚩They both tried to hide it from you. When you accidentally found out, he lied to you.”
“🚩When you understandably expressed concern, he told you it wasn’t any of your business.”
“🚩When you continued to express concern, he got angry, doubled down, and insulted you.”
“This is terrifying for both of you. Take it seriously.” ~ wildflowers
Privacy is one of those things that you don’t notice until it is gone.
Just like trust, privacy is easily broken and hard to replace.
Be wary of those who treat your privacy like an inconvenience.
You are the only person who gets to decide who in your life gets whatever information you choose to give. Noone gets to choose that for you – no matter who they are.