New York State forced a well-known spyware and stalkerware developer to pay a hefty fine and notify all victims that their smartphones were being monitored without their consent.
IN Twitter thread (opens in a new tab)The New York Attorney General’s office, Letitia James, said spyware vendor Patrick Hinchy was fined $410,000 for building the tools and using 16 companies to illegally promote them. Hinchy was also said to have promoted the tools with advertisements that claimed espionage was legal.
Among the apps he created were Auto Forward, Easy Spy, DDI Utilities, Highster Mobile, PhoneSpector, Surepoint, and TurboSpy.
The apps were apparently advertised as a good way to track spouses, lovers, or whoever users wanted to target. They have enabled users to track people’s activities on their mobile phones, track their location, browsing history, call logs, SMS, photos and videos, email, activity on various chat messaging platforms as well as social media.
Some apps even allowed users to activate both the camera and microphone remotely.
“Spying on your partner and following their cell phone without their knowledge is not only a sign of an unhealthy relationship, it is against the law,” we read on Twitter. “These apps and products expose New Yorkers to stalking and domestic violence and were aggressively promoted by Patrick Hinchy through 16 different companies. Today’s deal will block these companies from monitoring New Yorkers without their knowledge and will continue our ongoing fight to protect the rights, safety and privacy of New Yorkers. (opens in a new tab)“.
The sites promoting these apps, as well as the prices, are almost identical in all areas. AutoForward, DDI Utilities, and PhoneSpector all have an almost identical design and cost the same – $4.99 for the Basic plan and $6.99 for the Pro plan. Easy Spy will set you back $69.99.
By: Beeping Computer (opens in a new tab)