back to article US stalkerware developer fined $410,000 and ordered to modify apps so they reveal spying

A New York man who developed several stalkerware apps has been ordered to pay $410,000 in civil fines to settle a court case against him, and must modify the apps to let people know they are being monitored. The NY Attorney General's Office this month announced the agreement with Patrick Hinchy, who sold the apps through more …

  1. deevee

    What was he thinking?

    Only the US government is allowed to do that, NSA, FBI, CIA etc...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes, of course. In a democratic state some activities are reserved to the law enforcement entities that should do it only under judiciary oversight to fight crime. Just like you can't jail or force someone to pay a fee on your own.

      The fact that this right was abused doesn't mean people can abuse it at will too - they should fight against the state abuse too. It looks to me the fine for this guy was too lenient.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        I largely agree with that opinion.

        He should be in jail.

      2. Aitor 1

        Uk and law

        In the uk our security agencies have been repeatedly found to be breaking the law, with no real consequences. This is not what I would call democratic.

        Only court authorised and controlled should be allowed.

        I think the guy should be jailed..but at least he was fined.

        1. Nifty Silver badge

          Re: Uk and law

          If it wasn't published a a Sun or Daily Express headline, it didn't happen. Welcome to the UK.

      3. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

        "In a democratic state some activities are reserved to the law enforcement entities that should do it only under judiciary oversight to fight crime."

        That depends on what you mean by "democratic". In a constitutional democracy, where the powers of government might be restricted by that document, the rights of "the people"* may in fact be greater. That and a smart attorney can get a lot of private snooping covered under First Amendment (USA) protections. We are only safe (to a certain degree) by the powers NOT granted to those private entities. The right to arrest or detain, for example.

        *"The people", when defined by the assotiated rights of association usually include the rights of corporate entities. Your Googles and Facebooks, for example.

    2. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

      He'd also make a lot more money making it a more useful "find my phone" app. Once you enable lost mode, THEN it starts recording location, taking pictures, recording audio. I'm sure I've seen apps that claim to do that - I even subscribed to one for a year. (spoiler: it didn't work)

    3. ChoHag Silver badge

      Unless people have total control over their devices ...

      And the phone company, and the manufacturer, and the distributor, and the search engine, and the email provider, and the social networks, and the streaming, and the torch app, and the thing that sends you a picture of cute cats every week.

      Government is small fry in the spy biz.

  2. Killfalcon Silver badge

    Good to see shit like this getting shut down.

    A friend of mine is a DV lawyer, representing victims of domestic violence. First thing he tells any potential client, regardless of who they are, is "get rid of your phone, ASAP".

    He's been saying that almost as long as there have been smartphones - spyware is just endemic, it's almost a given that if you have a paranoid, controlling partner, they'll have cracked your phone long before anyone raises a hand in anger.

  3. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

    Better do it from inside a police station

    Barratt urged abuse or stalking victims to conduct that sort of device purge from a safe place.

    That "safe place" had better not be your "safe house", because that will be the last location the stalker has you pegged at before his/her tracking quits working. Clear your phone at a police station, instead.

  4. Claptrap314 Silver badge
    Megaphone

    Umm?

    Are you running Android?

    You are running stalkerware.

    Are you running with a voice assistant?

    You are running stalkerware.

    Are you running a maps application?

    You are running stalkerware.

    Are you taking pictures, uploaded to a cloud?

    You are running stalkerware.

    You want to know why I've never purchased a "smart" phone?

    You now have a clue.

    1. Intractable Potsherd

      Re: Umm?

      Well, good for you.

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