Location tracking is nothing new when it comes to mobile apps, with many of them requiring that information in order to better deliver services. Some apps, however, are not playing by the rules, with Google pulling several ones that feature “stalkerware” from the Play Store.
More specifically the firm found out that, if a would-be stalker found a target’s address and mobile device, they could remotely install a tracking app to collect sensitive data. These include location data, texts, calls, and may even allow the stalkers to hide any incriminating evidence they may possess.
One such app was called Spy Tracker, with CNET noting that it could allow users to stalk a romantic interest without their knowledge, with it having 130 000 downloads at the time of writing.
When pressed for comment, Google told Engadget that all the nefarious people-tracking apps had been removed from the Play Store, but did not mention how many apps have been removed following the Avast report, or indeed what would happen to developers or users of the applications.
The aforementioned Avast report does, however, list the following apps, but it’s still unclear if these are the only ones that infringe Google’s Play Store rules on tracking.
- Track Employees Check Work Phone Online Spy Free
- Spy Kids Tracker
- Phone Cell Tracker
- Mobile Tracking
- Spy Tracker
- SMS Tracker
- Employee Work Spy