SpyFone Banned by the FTC – Why It Happened

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) voted unanimously to ban the stalkerware app SpyFone.

How SpyFone earned the ban

SpyFone allegedly allowed people to purchase real-time data of individuals including:

  • the physical movements
  • phone use habits, and
  • online activities

According to the FTC’s statement, SpyFone enabled “stalkers and domestic abusers to stealthily track the potential targets of their violence.”

The app also had poor security practices, exposing the data of victims to cybercriminals, in addition to the person tracking the information directly.

The company’s server was hacked in August 2018 and personal data on 2,200 consumers was stolen.

The FTC alleges that SpyFone never remedied the vulnerability that led to this issue despite claims that it would.

The FTC barred the app’s CEO, Scott Zuckerman, from the surveillance industry.

Additionally, the company has to delete info collected by SpyFone and let all potential victims of the app know they may have had their personal data compromised.

Looking forward

SpyFone is not the only stalkware app. And the use of such tech by abusers is not an isolated incident. 

FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra issued a separate statement encouraging federal and state law enforcement agencies to consider criminal penalties for similar cases in the future.

Chopra asserted:

“While this action was worthwhile, I am concerned that the FTC will be unable to meaningfully crackdown on the underworld of stalking apps using our civil enforcement authorities.”


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