News & Features

PhoneSpector and Highster Cease Operations Following Stalkware Settlement

As per the recent announcements, Stalkerware, the parent company of the two most controversial applications, PhoneSpector and Highster, is going to shut them down. The news comes right after the owners agreed to settle the lawsuit against them back in 2023. Although they have decided on some other terms, including notifying the users about their phones being monitored, the company has ceased access to its platform, showcasing that they are no longer making their way with these apps. Stalkerware was accused of the hidden functioning of its applications as the incidents of adverse outcomes were reported.

Stalkerware Apps

Stalkerware apps are designed specifically to monitor the users’ activities like their messages, calls, photos, and real-time location. All the data was uploaded on a dashboard from where the users can see them. These apps were considered beneficial by the users in the beginning as they paved the way for people to check on their partners for their security and safety in their absence. However, some domestic partners have utilized its potential for unauthorized surveillance of their spouses, resulting in severe negative impacts. As these apps remain hidden, it would be impossible for the users to mobile owners to detect and remove them. 

The Legal Battle

Patrick Hinchy was accused of promoting illegal spyware applications and tools back in February 2023. A lawsuit was filed against him for developing the PhoneSpector and Highster with the help of its tech companies present in Florida and New York. The attorney general of New York, Letitia James, has stated that the company was found guilty of developing the spyware and promoting them to check on the phones inside the state without letting the owner learn about it. These apps have increased the incidents of users installing them on their spouse’s devices without their consent to monitor their activities.

The Settlement

The settlement of the lawsuit is based on several terms on which Hinchy’s companies have to act upon. As a part of the settlement, the apps would come with a feature to notify the owners about their devices being tracked. In this way, users will get alerts so that they can decide whether they are happy with this surveillance. Consequently, it will eliminate the chances of misunderstanding between partners. Also, it will prevent the company from facing such legal consequences in the future as they negatively impact the company’s overall reputation.

Future Prospects

After the settlement of the lawsuit, both applications stopped working. The infrastructure, domains, and servers are no longer functional. In addition, the PhoneSpector website has stopped loading, and an attempt to access its interface will result in a redirection to the Indonesian lottery site. However, the shutdown of these apps could be the result of managing the backend development and infrastructure modifications to fulfill the settlement requirements. 

Michael Clark

Michael Clark has been a ghostwriter for 5 years. Expert in tech trends, SEO & business marketing-related content. He has always wanted to pursue writing as a career. Michael has written many articles, eBooks, blogs, and other content for many websites across different industries. He is highly experienced in SEO, article marketing, and website content writing.

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