How Tech Giants Enable ‘Stalkerware’ Software Sold to Abusive Partners

Spyware to spy on romantic partners is a booming industry, but it doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

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Feb 22 2019, 7:59pm

With multiple sets of hacked data, Motherboard has identified a growing industry of so-called 'stalkerware.' This is malicious software installed on mobile phones that abusive partners use to track their wives, girlfriends, husbands, or ex-spouses. Sometimes the companies behind this software explicitly market their products for illicit use, like monitoring someone without their consent. Worse yet, some even use imagery of domestic violence on their websites. But cyber-security reporter Joseph Cox explains in his recent Motherboard story, this industry doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Tech and financial giants play a role by processing payments or pushing ads for these companies. Specifically, Motherboard has found that PayPal has been allowing various spyware companies that specifically market to people who want to abusively spy on their spouse to sell its products. On this episode of The VICE Guide To Right Now Podcast, we’ve got Motherboard Editor-in-Chief Jason Koebler in conversation with Cox.

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