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State Assemblyman: Spying Apps Can Enable Stalking, Abuse

Assemblyman Micah Kellner Wants Such Apps Banned
Apple iPhone

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A New York State assemblyman has called for a ban on new smart phone apps that make it easy for people to spy on loved ones.

The apps – with names such as “Spy2Mobile,” “iTrack,” and “I See You HD Lite,” allows people to track one another with mutual permission, the New York Daily News explained. But people can get access to their partners’ smartphones, install the app in secret, and spy on their partners’ e-mails, texts and other personal information, the newspaper explained.

The apps are designed to help keep an eye on a spouse suspected of cheating, or maybe to make sure a teenage daughter or son is actually where he or she claims to be, 1010 WINS’ Gary Baumgarten reported.

State Assemblyman Micah Kellner (D-Manhattan) said the apps can amount to illegal wiretapping.

“These smartphone apps – which, when downloaded on an unwitting victim’s phone, run in secret – forward their e-mail, their text messages, all their incoming and outgoing phone calls, as well as allow someone to track them,” Kellner told WCBS 880. “They have no legitimate purpose.”

Kellner said the apps in essence can facilitate stalking.

“These secret spying apps – these hidden stalking apps – are just a high-tech way for a stalker to prey on their victim,” he said.

He added that he believes the apps could also put people in abusive relationships in even more danger.

“Many domestic violence groups have spoken out against these apps. The whole idea that an abuser could be omnipresent in a victim’s life is incredibly dangerous,” he said. “A lot of these apps – they’re advertised as for fun; as for pranks. There’s nothing funny, or there’s nothing that’s a prank, about stalking somebody. They’re dangerous.”

He called on Google and Apple to “do the responsible thing” and “take these apps down.” But if that does not happen, he said lawmakers are prepared to pass legislation to make the apps illegal in New York State without permission from the users.

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