FTC takes action against "stalker" app manufacturer
The seal of the FTC on a podium at FTC headquarters in Washington, D.C. Photo: MANDEL NGAN / Contributor/ Getty Images
The FTC took its first-ever action Tuesday against a maker of "stalkerware," software used by spouses, parents and others to surveil purported loved ones' cell phones.
What's happening: The company, Retina-X, and its owner James N. Johns, will be required to delete all data hoarded by the apps and cease the sale of products, requiring a user to circumvent phone security until it can reasonably guarantee "legitimate" use.
Why it matters: These apps are frequently operated by abusers to covertly keep tabs on significant others, providing data on locations, movements and online behaviors.
- Retina-X was recently hacked, as first reported by Vice.
The FTC detailed three violations of law on behalf of Retina-X — including mishandling information on children, failing to safeguard information and accepting that users would use its products to surveil others without consent.
- Retina-X will be forced to undergo additional monitoring for information security.
- The FTC also announced it posted several tips on detecting and mitigating stalkerware on phones.