Google Deletes At Least 7 Stalking Apps From Play Store

Posted: Jul 18 2019, 12:51am CDT | by , in Technology News

 

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Google deletes at least 7 stalking apps from Play Store
Photo by Avast

The apps are marketed as a way to monitor employees to save time and money, as well as to monitor children to protect them from dangers.

As part of its move to strengthen its privacy policy, Google has pulled out at least seven apps from the Play Store that in a way promote stalking.

The apps were identified by antivirus software Avast. In a statement, Avast said the apps were potentially created by a Russian developer to allow people “to stalk employees, romantic partners, or kids.”

The following apps were the ones detected by Avast and were then reported to Google:

- Track Employees Check Work Phone Online Spy Free

- Spy Kids Tracker

- Phone Cell Tracker

- Mobile Tracking

- Spy Tracker

- SMS Tracker

- Employee Work Spy

These stalkerware apps are marketed to be designed either for monitoring employees’ work time “to save time and save money,” to monitor children and “protect them from dangers that can be revealed via cell phone,” or to keep an employee “faithful to the company.”

Google has immediately removed the apps from its app marketplace for Android devices, Google Play Store. All in all, about 130,000 users have installed the apps. The most popular ones are Spy Tracker and SMS Tracker, which both recorded more than 50,000 downloads.

In a nutshell, users are able to download the app on the smartphone of someone they want to stalk and hide it from the phone’s interface, so the phone’s user wouldn’t know that they are being tracked.

Among the apps’ features include the ability to track the surveilled person’s location, collect their contacts, SMS and call history, according to Avast.

In May 2018, The New York Times reported that there are more than 200 apps and services that empower would-be stalkers with their features that help track basic location, collect text messages and secretly record videos.

The newspaper cited a study by a group of New York City-based researchers at Cornell Tech, Cornell University, and NYU. The research identified the use of stalkware apps to promote intimate partner violence.

This story may contain affiliate links.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/81" rel="author">Mandy Jean</a>
Mandy covers the latest news in Tech and Business.

 

 

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