Call to ban smartphone spy ware apps - FOX 13 News

Call to ban smartphone spy ware apps

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Manhattan Assemblyman Micah Kellner (D-Manhattan) Manhattan Assemblyman Micah Kellner (D-Manhattan)

A lawmaker says a new smart phone apps that make it easier to spy on your loved ones should be banned because they can also help stalkers and abusers track their victims.

Manhattan Assemblyman Micah Kellner (D-Manhattan) is pushing for a ban on smartphone "spy" applications such as "Spy2Mobile" and "iTrack."

"This is stalking for the 21st century, the idea that you can be omnipresent in somebody's life -- It's an illegal wiretap," said Assemblyman Kellner.

Our cellphones have made it easier than ever before for people to find us, but now some say apps that actually allow our friends to track our every move could be going too far.

One app promises to give you full access to another person's texts and call log while another lets you tracks your friend with your phone.

They are just two of a growing number of applications and soft wares that let mobile users virtually spy on others and while they are marketed as just for fun – domestic violence advocates say they have serious consequences.

"For young people like day one's clients, who are victims of dating violence and DV, having people know your location without your knowledge can put your life at risk."

Stephanie Nilva runs Day One, a city organization that advocates on behalf of teen victims of dating violence. She is now among those supporting legislation drafted by Assemblyman Kellner to ban apps like Spy and Mobile, which can be downloaded onto a person's phone without their knowledge.

"It takes two minutes for it to download and then someone has access to everything you're doing. Where you are, who you're speaking with, who you're texting with, and an abuser can become omnipresent in a victims life," said Nilva, Day One Executive Director.

Kellener's legislation would make it illegal to sell or provide a program that automatically forwards texts or other messages without the users consent but while most agree it's well intentioned, not everyone is confident it would be effective.

"The sad thing is, this kind of ban has proven to be completely ineffective."

Tech expert Shelly Palmer says while the bill may take some of the apps off the market, others would likely continue to pop up.

"This is just an ineffective way to sensationalize a problem, but the good news is he has shined a light on something I think we should all be aware of, which is hey, people can look at your emails people can look at your location, do you want that to be happening?" said Palmer.

The assemblyman says he will hold hearings on the bill later this summer after writing to Google. He has already gotten feedback from the tech-giant promising to look into the issue.

For more information on Day One visit their website



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