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Spyware company faces legal action over alleged affair interception

A spyware maker is facing legal action after being told by a court that its software was used illegally for a man’s messages to be intercepted. Javier Luis’ messages were read by the husband of Catherine Zang, who Luis began a friendship with in 2009. The spyware, WebWatcher, was used to intercept messages sent between the pair over the course of many months. The messages were then used in evidence for divorce proceedings. The US appeal court has given Mr Luis the go-ahead to sue the company behind the software, Awareness Technologies. The software is able to log searches, web history, chat logs and e-mail threads.

Illegal interceptions?

Mr Luis says the software was used illegally to intercept his conversations with Ms Zange. Action taken by Mr Luis against Mr Zang and other anonymous parties has already been settled. Mr Luis pursued his case after his claims were initially dismissed by a district court. The pair never met face-to-face, but Mr Luis claimed he had been in a “caring relationship” with Ms Zang. Mr Zang installed the software on a computer shared with his wife to intercept communications in real time. He used the information given to him by the software to divorce Ms Zang in 2010.

Case set to continue

The software itself is marketed to parents to keep them safe online. However, the software’s terms of use say that it can only be used on devices installed on the devices owned by the person who bought it, or to monitor a device owned by someone else with permission. Awareness Technologies denied that the software had illegally intercepted the communications, saying it had only stored them as data. It said interception had not occurred because communications were not being captured before reaching the recipient. The court of appeals said Mr Luis had enough information to “reasonably infer” that his communications had been intercepted. The case will now continue in the lower court.

Further cases likely?

It’s thought the case is a big cause of concern for developers. The suit says the software violates a number of tapping laws whilst claiming its advertising is misleading. Companies using products like WebWatcher whilst their employees are checking personal e-mail with no knowledge that the software is running could be able to take action over their rights being violated. Developers marketing similar products could be worried about having legal action taken against them.

Do you require spyware removal software?

Spyware has been causing problems for internet users for many years. It can be used for a variety of purposes including not only obtaining the contents of private messages but sourcing information about bank accounts, passwords and more. Spyware can have a negative impact on the performance of a computer, slowing machines down, changing settings, changing default search engines and more. A large number of owners have been forced to pay forspyware removal software after unwittingly becoming victims of it.

Stay one step ahead

Spyware often appears on computers when users install free software. When the software the user wished to obtain is downloaded, the spyware can become part of the installation and quickly start gathering data about user habits. Some spyware writers have even paid software developers to bundle their spyware with the downloads users actually desire. Many have repackaged freeware to bundle it with their own malicious software. Spyware removal can be a tough process and many computer owners have been forced to completely reformat their hard drives or take their machines to virus and spyware removal specialists in order to put things right.

Find the right programme for you

Some programmes purporting to be spyware removal tools have even been found to be spyware themselves. It’s important to remember that spyware doesn’t just appear on laptops and desktop computers. It has also made itself known on devices including phones and tablets. It’s wise to invest in the most reputable and highly-rated anti-malware tools you can in order to stay one step ahead of the latest threats. Some of the cheaper or free anti-virus and anti-malware tools can fail to spot threats until it is too late. There are many highly-rated spyware removal programmes on the market that can help keep you and your personal information safe.



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