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.
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
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.
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