New York Attorney General Letitia James announced that her office secured $410,000 from Patrick Hinchy and 16 of his companies for illegally promoting spyware that allowed individuals to monitor another person’s device without their awareness.
According to a statement from James’ office, the software products sold by Hinchy’s companies “allowed users to secretly monitor activity on another device, including call logs, text messages, photos and videos, location, Gmail activity, WhatsApp and Skype messages, social media activity, and browsing history.” However, installing and using stalkerware to monitor another adult’s mobile device without their consent runs afoul of state and federal laws. In addition to the cash settlement, Hinchy’s companies must modify their apps to alert device owners that their devices are being monitored.
“Snooping on a partner and tracking their cell phone without their knowledge isn’t just a sign of an unhealthy relationship, it is against the law,” said James. “These apps and products put New Yorkers at risk of stalking and domestic abuse, and were aggressively promoted by Patrick Hinchy through 16 different companies. [This] agreement will block these companies from allowing New Yorkers to be monitored without their awareness, and will continue our ongoing fight to protect New Yorkers’ rights, safety, and privacy.”
The companies owned by Hinchy and named in today’s agreement include Powerline Group Inc., Powerline Media LLC, Powerline Data LLC, Powerline Digital LLC, Powerline Commerce LLC, ILF Mobile Apps Corp., Auto Forward Data Services LLC, DDI Utilities Inc., DDI Data Solutions Inc., Highster Mobile Inc., Highster Data Services LLC, PhoneSpector LLC, Safeguarde LLC, BFG Marketing LLC, Digital Security World LLC, and CTS Technologies Corp.