Use of Stalking Tech Tools by Abusive Spouses May be Grounds for a Protection Order

The “Vice News Tonight” show on HBO recently featured a segment on “How Easily an Abusive Partner can Track their Spouse”.  

You can watch it on YouTube at this link: https://youtu.be/aIyILfmz0O4?t=11m44s
 

Mobile Phone Tracking Applications are Being Used Illegally as Stalking Tools

The news show reported an alarming new trend of control freak spouses installing hidden surveillance software on their partner’s phones to secretly record their calls, read their texts and posts and track their location.  The show interviewed women in domestic violence shelters who have suffered from this type of abusive behavior.

The news story cited a 2016 Government Accountability Office report that identified more than 40 apps that can secretly track phone activity.  Many of these apps are marketed to parents who want to track their children. Some of the software is cheap and easy to install. They are easy to find through a simple google search.  The news report discussed a few specific apps, including “Spyzie” which claims to have 3 million users. Another app called “MyMobileWatchdog” warns users not to use the apps for illegal purposes, but that kind of warning is no disincentive until legal consequences are carried out.

The news story claimed that the offenders who install these apps onto their spouse's phone are typically in violation of three federal laws: the federal wiretapping statute, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and the federal stalking statute.  But prosecution for violating these statutes from the use of cell phone tracking apps is unheard of. So what can you do?
 

Proceed With Legal Action to Protect Yourself From a Stalker

Washington State does consider stalking a form of domestic violence.  If you are or have been in an abusive relationship and need to take legal action, an attorney with experience in family law can help you get a domestic violence protection order, file for divorce, press criminal charges, and safeguard your legal rights.  At the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny, our attorneys are here to help.

Molly B. Kenny
Founder and Principal Divorce Attorney
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