Although it is illegal in the United States to install harassment software on an adult’s phone without their consent, the marketing of such applications is legal. Although many companies have shown disclaimers on their websites stating that their software is for lawful purposes only, there are several convictions for installing spyware on unknown adult devices.

Last September, in the first order of its kind, the Federal Trade Commission ban a company called Support King, which operates under the name SpyFone, from the business to monitoring the illegal collection and sharing of personal information of people and non-compliance with basic security measures. The FTC said it would “be aggressive in seeking surveillance bans when companies and their executives rudely invade our privacy.”

While many harassment software applications are sold as parental monitoring tools to track children, they provide the same capabilities as services that are more likely to spy on spouses, said David Ruiz, senior advocate for the group’s privacy advocacy. security Malwarebytes. “There are a whole bunch of applications that just say they will solve your problem with a cheating spouse. Which isn’t just ridiculous – it’s dangerous. ”

Technology-facilitated abuse is a rapidly growing problem. About 1.5 million Americans are harassed by some form of technology each year, according to the Center for Awareness and Resources for Prevention of Harassment, while the UK’s domestic violence charity Refuge reported a 97% increase in abuse requiring specialized technical support between April 2020 May 2021

The team of the charity for technology abuse said it was working with “countless” survivors whose abusers had installed harassment software on their phones in an attempt to intimidate, harass and manipulate them.

“It’s extremely alarming to hear that these apps are being sold directly to perpetrators,” said Emma Pickering, a leading tech abuser at Refuge. “Technology companies need to act quickly to remove ads that allow perpetrators to access tools to read their partners’ messages or track locations without their knowledge or consent.

“We have to admit that cyberbullying is dangerous and threatening behavior, just like stalking on the street.

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