On Monday, the Department of Justice announced the indictment of the manufacturer of the smart phone surveillance app StealthGenie on Monday -- the first such indictment -- but many other so-called "stalker apps" remain on the market. The apps allow a user to spy on another person's phone calls, texts, emails, or even turn the onboard microphone into a bug. Legal experts say it's unclear whether the arrest spells the beginning of the end for the commonly abused apps.
"When I first heard the news, I was doing cartwheels," says Cindy Southworth, a technology expert at the National Network to End Domestic Violence. "But my official statement is 'Yippee! One down and 400 to go.' There's a long list of really vile products right behind StealthGenie that need to be investigated and taken down too."
Many app makers claim that their software is to be used for legal purposes, to monitor children or consenting employees.