Inside the 'Stalkerware' Surveillance Market, Where Ordinary People Tap Each Other's Phones


Surveillance starts at home.

This story is part of When Spies Come Home, a Motherboard series about powerful surveillance software ordinary people use to spy on their loved ones.

John* tapped out a simple text message to his wife in January 2016. "I love you," it read.

But this wasn't the only message she saw. Unbeknownst to John, his wife had bugged his smart phone. She was spying on John, eavesdropping on all of his texts and multimedia messages, and tracking his every move through the device's GPS.

She was also stealing all of John's photos. In one slightly blurred picture, John, a police officer in a small town in the southwestern United States, is knelt over a suspect, who is face down on the curb. In another photograph, John is taking a selfie wearing a dress shirt and a black tie. A third picture shows an email exchange with Facebook's law enforcement help team, revealing that John was requesting data on a target of an investigation.

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Never argue with a pig. It makes you look foolish and it anoys the hell out of the pig!

At the very least John

At the very least John should run very fast from this woman and never look back.

As a police officer he has a legal obligation to report this snooping activity that involved his on-the-job cases to his city's legal department. I would hope she receives jail time.

I never get lost, but I do explore new territory every now and then.