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The spy apps removed by Google available on the Play Store

The Google Play Store

Google had to remove some applications from its store. The spy apps removed are 7. Those were able to collect and to send informations about the position, the contacts, the phone records and messages typed on the smartphone. They were removed mainly to avoid problems linked to the usage of the datas to stalk.

Infact it isn’t a privacy violation focused on the companies, with the purchase of the datas for marketing, but otherwise the datas were used by common people.

The apps, made by a russian developer, gave the access to private datas like conversations and movements about other smartphone’s owners. To see the problem was the team of Avast, the famous antivirus software available even for mobile.

The spy apps removed

The applications accused are:
1) Track Employees Check Work Phone Online Spy Free
2) Spy Kids Tracker
3) Phone Cell Tracker
4) Mobile Tracking
5) Spy Tracker
6) SMS Tracker
7) Employee Work Spy

The Avast’s team pointed out then that they registered about 130 thousand installations, especially Spy Tracker and SMS Tracker realized 50 thousand download each.

app spia rimosse
The apps of the Play Store are constantly checked

By looking to the names, we can notice that the purpose was the one to control especially the movements and the activities of the children. But in a short time they become really useful even for who used those datas for other purposes.

Many stalkers, like partners or ex used those instruments to control their victims.

How did the removed spy apps work

The usage were really easy, it was enough infact to install the application on the smartphone of the victim and then the software worked in background by being invisible.

On the store the app Spy Tracker publicized itseld like this: «Find out more about the life, the interests, of friends and your son’s plans. The parents are responsibile for every step that they sons do. This app is created to check and to protect them».

Ethical implications

As well as for every application, though, the main problem is the usage that we do of it. Like DeepNude was born to have fun and ended to be used to make jokes and to trigger the fake’s victims, even those spy apps removed had a similar way.

Infact it’s enough really short time to pass from a simple control’s operation, even in case it’s legitimate like in case of the sons, to a real stalking’s activity.

A report of the Citizen Lab of the university of Toronto it’s right about the crimes made through the usage of the technology. The research, called “The predator inside your pocket”, demonstrated the role of the technology in many cases of domestic violence, right through the applications of checking of position and contents.

app spia rimosse
The smartphone is used ever more frequently for the stalking

Avast and Google though have joined and thanks to the platform apklab.io the other applications similar to the spy apps removed will be easily visible and so quickly removed from the Play Store.

The director of the Federprivacy, Nicola Bernardi, is worried: even if these applications didn’t have a main role in Italy, it’s real that the trend of their usage is increasing. Now the technology’s spreading is so large that everything can become a way to spy other people.

The controls of Google

Fortunatelly Google undertakes to frequentelly control the apps uploaded on the store. Due to the fact that it’s clear that sometimes some apps get out of control in phase of upload and it don’t respect the guide lines of the store.

At the beginning of the year infact were removed more than 200 apps and plays on the Play store because they contained an adware. These were able to launch ads in background, open pages on the browser without notice its presence on the smartphone. To see the adware this time was the company Check Point.

This post is also available in: Italiano