The Federal Trade Commission has taken some robust steps towards ensuring user privacy. Reportedly, the FTC has banned Retina-X Studios from selling their ‘stalkerware’ apps. The ban will remain in effect unless the makers can assure legitimate use of their applications.
FTC Banned Retina-X Spyware Apps
According to recent reports, the Federal Trade Commission has begun crackdown against stalkerware. FTC has banned the tech firm Retina-X from the sales, promotion, and distribution of their spyware applications.
According to the settlement between FTC and Retina-X Studios, LLC., the company can no longer sell or market its three applications, MobileSpy, PhoneSheriff and TeenShield, known for spying activities. These devices required rooting an Android or jailbreaking an iPhone for installation, thereby making the devices vulnerable to cyber attacks. Upon reaching the device, the apps used to track and log all activities performed on the target device.
FTC took these steps following the allegations on the stalkerware apps for compromising device security and breaching users’ privacy. The settlement binds Retina-X to ensure the legitimate use of their apps.
According to the statement of Andrew Smith, Director Bureau of Consumer Protection, FTC, shared in a press release,
This is our first action against a so-called ‘stalking app. Although there may be legitimate reasons to track a phone, these apps were designed to run surreptitiously in the background and are uniquely suited to illegal and dangerous uses. Under these circumstances, we will seek to hold app developers accountable for designing and marketing a dangerous product.
FTC Orders Deletion Of All Data
Retina-X spyware apps not only breached users’ privacy and device security, but the makers also failed to adequately protect users’ data. Consequently, the FTC has also ordered the developers to delete all the data collected via their apps.
In the future, Retina-X will have to explicitly obtain users’ statements regarding legit use of their apps. Furthermore, the developers must ensure the retention of app icons on the target device unless used for tracking minors.
Retina-X and Johns must require purchasers to state that they will only use the app to monitor a child or an employee, or another adult who has provided written consent. In addition, they must include an icon with the name of the app on the mobile device, which is only removable by a parent or legal guardian who has installed the app on their minor child’s phone.
In addition, FTC also binds Retina-X to ensure implementing a comprehensive information security program for the data they collect.
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