The Delhi High Court today asked for the Centre’s position on a petition highlighting the invasion of cell phone users’ privacy by spyware that monitors and records information.
Justice V Kameswar Rao issued an opinion on the petitioner by Dimple Vivek, a lawyer, who argued that mobile spyware or malware posed a serious threat to mobile phone users placed under “full surveillance”.
The judge also requested a response from Google and certain spyware vendors to the motion asking the Center to stop the sale, exploitation and advertising of this spyware.
The petitioner also requested instructions from the Center to regulate such spyware.
Women have been the main victims of illegal spyware which is “capable of capturing a significant amount of highly personal information” such as location tracking, monitoring of text messages, calls, photos and cameras, says the petition.
“Spyware or stalkerware refers to tools – apps, software, and devices – that allow another person (such as an abuser/spy/stalker, etc.) to secretly monitor and record information about the phone activity. ‘Stalkerware’ is a newer term that draws attention to the invasive, intrusive and dangerous misuse of these tools,” he said.
He further claimed that some spyware, which operates in stealth mode and is difficult to detect or remove, is sold/licensed to the general public without any restriction or control and therefore there is a risk of misuse.
“It goes without saying that the very existence and use of the software/application is not only dangerous, but threatens any individual, including a threat to the nation, as it has an enormous capacity to be used at improperly, including by terrorists, extremists, etc. Such unauthorized surveillance/access to stored data from citizens’ phones and other devices for reasons other than national security would be unlawful, reprehensible and concerning,” the statement said. petition.
Every Indian citizen must be protected by the state against invasions of privacy and freedom, he said.
The case would be listed on March 9.
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