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Maker of StealthGenie Cellphone Spyware App Indicted on U.S. Charges

In their first criminal case on mobile spyware, U.S. authorities have charged a man who sold a cellphone app that surreptitiously recorded phone calls and intercepted texts and emails when it was installed on a target's phone, the Department of Justice said on Monday. For almost four years, Hammad Akbar, chief executive officer of a private company called InvoCode, sold an app known as StealthGenie, capable of recording conversations within a 15-foot radius, according to the indictment. The app also recorded phone calls as they were made, monitored emails, photographs and calendars without the knowledge of the user. It worked on the Apple's iPhone, Google’s Android and the Blackberry. Akbar, 31, of Lahore, Pakistan, was arrested in Los Angeles last week and is being charged with conspiracy, selling and advertising a surreptitious interception device. To install the app, customers needed physical control of the target's phone. "Apps like StealthGenie are expressly designed for use by stalkers and domestic abusers who want to know every detail of a victim's personal life — all without the victim's knowledge," Assistant Attorney General Caldwell said in a statement.
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— Reuters and NBC News staff