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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.

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.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

Ipsos poll: COVID trick-or-treat

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note ±3.3% margin of error for the total sample size; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

About half of Americans are worried that trick-or-treating will spread coronavirus in their communities, according to this week's installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: This may seem like more evidence that the pandemic is curbing our nation's cherished pastimes. But a closer look reveals something more nuanced about Americans' increased acceptance for risk around activities in which they want to participate.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: The good and bad news about antibody therapies — Fauci: Hotspots have materialized across "the entire country."
  2. World: Belgium imposes lockdown, citing "health emergency" due to influx of cases.
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Education: Surge threatens to shut classrooms down again.
  5. Technology: The pandemic isn't slowing tech.
  6. Travel: CDC replaces COVID-19 cruise ban with less restrictive "conditional sailing order."
  7. Sports: High school football's pandemic struggles.
  8. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.
Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Updated 10 hours ago - Economy & Business

Dunkin' Brands agrees to $11B Inspire Brands sale

Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Dunkin' Brands, operator of both Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, agreed on Friday to be taken private for nearly $11.3 billion, including debt, by Inspire Brands, a restaurant platform sponsored by private equity firm Roark Capital.

Why it matters: Buying Dunkin’ will more than double Inspire’s footprint, making it one of the biggest restaurant deals in the past 10 years. This could ultimately set up an IPO for Inspire, which already owns Arby's, Jimmy John's and Buffalo Wild Wings.

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