The New York Attorney General has reached a settlement agreement with a group of technology companies owned by Patrick Hinchey which sold spousal monitoring software. The settlement includes a fine of $410,000, an obligation to notify users that they are monitored and the type of information collected, and an obligation to properly disclose information to those interested in purchasing the software regarding the support offered, the need to jailbreak the device used, the refund policy and security information.
The software provides the ability to monitor the activity of a partner’s device, such as call log tracking, text messages, photos and videos, location, activity on Gmail, WhatsApp, and Skype messages, social media activity, and browsing history. The advertisements and promotions that the companies ran led purchasers of the software to believe that using their products to spy on their spouses was lawful, even though they used it without their spouse’s consent and in violation of New York State laws and federal laws.
The investigation by the Attorney General’s Office also found that the companies misrepresented the refund policies and information security features, did not disclose the potential damage to the devices and created fake review sites to entice customers to purchase the software.
Click here to read the New York Attorney General’s press release.
Click here to read the settlement agreement.