Thursday, February 23, 2017
Meet The 'Cowboys Of Creepware' -- Selling Government-Grade Surveillance To Spy On Your Spouse
In a 2015 Women’s Aid survey of 693 women, 29 per cent said they had spyware or GPS locators installed on their phones or computers by a partner or ex. In 2014, NPR surveyed 70 women’s shelters, finding 85 per cent were working with victims whose abusers tracked them via GPS, or what’s often referred to as “spouseware.”
Where do those surveillance tools come from? A FORBES investigation has unearthed evidence that often behind such easy-to-use spyware are opportunistic salesmen who’re peddling not just to jealous spouses and paranoid parents for small fees, but whose powerful spying software is also sold to police and intelligence agencies for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Though the cyberweapons creators we investigated have never publicly disclosed this, their digital trails prove that often the malware used to snoop on terrorists and pedophiles is much the same as that used to control partners in abusive relationships.
Not only are lawmakers, lawyers and women’s rights activists horrified at the blatant militarization of personal surveillance, they’ve called on the U.S. government to take action on the sale of spyware in America, something many have long considered illegal.