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Google to prohibit stalkerware used for spying on intimate partners

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Google will now go after stalkerware that remotely spy upon your wife or girlfriend via tracking their location and reading messages that they send and receive on their smartphones, without their knowledge and permission.

From August 11, Google under its updated ad policy would prohibit spyware and technology used for “intimate partner surveillance”.

“This includes but not limited to spyware/malware that can be used to monitor texts, phone calls, or browsing history; GPS trackers specifically marketed to spy or track someone without their consent; promotion of surveillance equipment (cameras, audio recorders, dash cams, nanny cams) marketed with the express purpose of spying,” the company said in a statement.

“In short it’s spyware beloved by creeps, jealous ex-partners, and those who have no qualms about invading someone’s privacy in the hope of tracking what they’re up to and with whom,” said security writer Graham Cluley in a blog post.

Abusive husbands also use such spyware to track their wives who are the victims of domestic violence.

A group of advocates, antivirus companies and legal experts, have already formed the “Coalition Against Stalkerware” to deal with such kinds of people.

The Search engine giant said that from August, “the Google Ads Enabling Dishonest Behaviour policy will be updated to clarify restrictions on advertising for spyware and surveillance technology”.

“The updated policy will prohibit the promotion of products or services that are marketed or targeted with the express purpose of tracking or monitoring another person or their activities without their authorization,” said the company.

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