TRENTON, N.J. – A bill sponsored by Assemblyman Ron Dancer protecting the privacy of cell phone users was advanced today by the Assembly Homeland Security Committee.
Dancer’s legislation prohibits the unauthorized electronic surveillance of cellphones by people using app software such as Spy2Mobile, iTrack, and I See You HD Lite. These apps allow users to track each other voluntarily, but if someone gets access to another person’s phone they can secretly install the app and read that person’s emails and text messages and track their movements.
“The explosion of technology allows someone to eavesdrops on private communications or disclose where people are without their knowledge,” said Dancer (R-Ocean). “Although these apps are marketed as fun products, but they can make people vulnerable to predators. Most consumers are not aware of the level of sophistication which some applications provide.”
Under the bill (A2838), any person who purposely uses a software application or other technology to disable or hide notifications in another person’s cellphone without their knowledge faces a 3 to 5-year prison term and a fine of up to $15,000.
Anyone who possesses, sells, manufactures or advertises the sale or distribution of such software for the same purposes is also subject to civil penalties in addition to jail time and maximum $15,000 fine.
“Downloading a location tracker onto someone’s cell phone without their consent is devious and dangerous,” concluded Dancer. “It’s basically an illegal wiretap. There is nothing innocent about intruding into someone’s personal affairs and, at the very least, an individual should have the choice to decide whether to subject themselves to more surveillance.”