The Federal Trade Commission or FTC has officially banned SpyFone, the maker of a so-called stalkerware app. The app reportedly sold real-time access to their secret surveillance while empowering stalkers and domestic abusers.
FTC on SpyFone
The FTC notes that as the name suggests, stalkerware apps actually grant abusers the ability for them to be able to secretly monitor the digital lives of a certain person's phone they can get their hands on. The FTC announcement noted that the company actually sold real-time access to their secret surveillance which allowed stalkers and domestic abusers to stealthily be able to track the potential targets of their violence.
SpyFone and its CEO, Scott Zuckerman neither admitted nor denied the allegations that were made by the FTC. Allegations that even go beyond the already dreaded horrors of stalkerware. FTC notes that SpyFone's lack of basic security also actually exposed device owners to hackers, identity thieves, and even other cyber threats.
'Leading Spy Phone App'
According to Mashable, a consent order agreement that accompanies the FTC announcement points out that SpyFone.com is a website that claims to be the world's "Leading Spy Phone App" that allegedly has "millions installed." Google Play Store reportedly shows that there have been "1,000,000+" downloads of this app.
Stalkerware, in a sense, is actually not a new problem, director of cybersecurity at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Eva Galperin, spoke with Mashable back in 2019 regarding the tech's wide reach. She reportedly explained during that time that like other forms of domestic abuse, stalkerware use on phones affect people from different walks of life.
Cases of Spying
She noted that she has been contacted by men that were spied on by women, men being spied on by other women, and even women being spied on by other women. The majority cases, however, are women whose phones are reportedly being spied on by either a partner or even a former partner, who usually turns out to be a man.
Quite interestingly, a part of the FTC's official proposed settlement actually requires SpyFone to notify the potential victims. This means victims will receive a display warning message noting that someone might have secretly monitored their phone. There are other spywares out there like the Pegasus spyware that can be used to monitor one's device.
FTC on Support King
The FTC alleges that Support King has actually sold illegal monitoring products which could have been installed on this particular phone and the software has been disabled. This isn't even the first time that the FTC has made a move against the maker of the stalkerware app. The Pegasus spyware even forced the French president to let go of his iPhone.
Back in 2019, it was the developer of PhoneSheriff, MobileSpy, and TeenShield being monitored by the FTC. The stalker ware industry is one industry that is predicted on abuse, and according to Mashable, the sooner that companies like SpyFone are forced to exit digital surveillance, the better.
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Written by Urian B.