FTC Bans Spyfone From Surveillance Business
Spyfone Was Banned as It Failed to Protect Customers’ Devices From Hackers.
FTC, the Federal Trade Commission, banned Spyfone and its CEO Scott Zuckerman from the surveillance business.
FTC is the authority that protects the consumers by stopping unfair, deceptive, or fraudulent practices in the marketplace by conducting investigations, suing those that violate the law, developing rules to ensure a vibrant marketplace, and educating consumers and businesses.
Stalkerware is a technology that allows third parties to monitor your mobile device without your knowledge in this manner allowing them to collect sensitive information like your location and online activity, that can be used for malicious purposes, as these types of tools can lead to “gender-based and domestic violence, harassment and sexual abuse.”
Today, the Federal Trade Commission banned SpyFone and its CEO Scott Zuckerman from the surveillance business over allegations that the stalkerware app company secretly harvested and shared data on people’s physical movements, phone use, and online activities through a hidden device hack.
The company’s apps sold real-time access to their secret surveillance, allowing stalkers and domestic abusers to stealthily track the potential targets of their violence. SpyFone’s lack of basic security also exposed device owners to hackers, identity thieves, and other cyber threats.
According to Samuel Levine, the Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, while the stalkerware was running on users’ devices without their knowledge, the information that was collected was exposed to hackers, as he referred to a data breach from August 2018 that was caused by Spyfone leaving an Amazon S3 bucket that was containing several terabytes of data harvested from more than 3,600 devices.
Victims Will Be Alerted
The FTC requires that Support King, which is the company behind Spyfone, notify the owners of the devices that are monitored.
Send a Clear and Conspicuous notice via on-screen notification to Mobile Device users with a Monitoring Product or Service installed on their Mobile Device prior to the entry of this Order, which shall Clearly and Conspicuously state: Someone may have secretly monitored your phone.
Another aspect that FTC insisted upon was that Spyfone the CEO Scott Zuckerman to delete any information that was illegally collected using the stalkerware apps.
This case is an important reminder that surveillance-based businesses pose a significant threat to our safety and security.
We will be aggressive about seeking surveillance bans when companies and their executives egregiously invade our privacy.