FTC bars company from selling “stalking” apps
Software developer Retina-X Studio is no longer allowed to sell three of its apps designed for monitoring employees and children, because the “stalkerware” applications are often used by cybercriminals to spy on users without their consent, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) determined on Tuesday. The FTC wants the company to demonstrate that the software will be used legally before it can enter the market again.
The FTC argued that hackers are secretly installing Retina-X Studio apps on victim’s phones, which enables them to collect a wide variety of private data from victims, including login credentials, contact lists, photos, geolocation information and online activity. Andrew Smith of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection explained that “although there may be legitimate reasons to track a phone, these apps were designed to run surreptitiously in the background and are uniquely suited to illegal and dangerous uses.”