ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A federal judge has permanently shut down a cellphone spyware app called “StealthGenie” that exposed targets to having their calls and emails monitored without their knowledge.
Judge Leonie (LAY-uh-nee) Brinkema in Alexandria issued a permanent injunction shutting down StealthGenie on Tuesday. That follows a temporary injunction issued last year.
The app’s creator, 31-year-old Hammad Akbar, of Lahore, Pakistan, pleaded guilty last year to illegal sale of an intercept device and paid a $500,000 fine. Prosecutors in the Eastern District of Virginia said it was the first-ever criminal conviction involving the sale of an eavesdropping tool for cellphones.
Akbar said he intended the app for companies wanting to monitor employees or parents to watch over children. But he acknowledged it could be used by cyberstalkers and domestic abusers as well.