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Apps Make It Easy for Domestic Abusers to Spy

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Surveillance via smartphone.

A Cornell University study has identified thousands of applications that allow domestic abusers to spy on their partners.


Cornell University researchers have found thousands of applications enabling domestic abusers to spy on their partners are simple to install, hard to detect, and marketed in the darkest corners of the Internet.

The apps include traditional spyware and software designed to find phones or keep track of children, making it almost impossible to use existing anti-spyware tools to defend against them.

"You can easily find them, and existing anti-spyware apps don't detect them, so intimate partner violence victims have no way to know they're being spied on," says Cornell Tech's Rahul Chatterjee.

To combat this trend, the researchers recommend a multipronged effort including greater vigilance from Internet companies to ensure rules are followed, new solutions for how mobile operating systems notify users that their phones are being monitored, increased policing by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and other government agencies, and improved anti-spying software.

From Cornell Chronicle (NY)
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