Even though compliance and regulation is supposed to be universal in nature, its meaning seemingly varies from person to person, and more so, from entity to entity. While this bit of a custom interpretation should have been a good thing, as it turns out, it delivers more negatives than positives. The conflicting interests of different entities come at loggerheads when the regulatory bodies try to accommodate the elements that are essential to these organizations. This creates a scenario where many organizations fail to abide by the rules purely because they can’t fully grasp them. So, once technology came into play, it was viewed as a fair answer to such a problem. After all, its unique selling preposition was the fact it can fulfill contrasting needs without losing sight of the core principle. However, technology’s integration into regulation and compliance sphere has been far from smooth. The sheer lack of synergy between companies and regulatory bodies over its usage has created all sorts of problems that you can imagine, but that’s not even the biggest hurdle we have to get over right now. The growing unscrupulous use of technology is something that currently poses the biggest threat to the smooth functioning of all our major sectors. Now at the crossroads because of this problem, the regulatory industry must look for ways to reinvent the role of such tools, keeping in mind things like security and privacy obligations. If that can’t be done, then the tool’s use must be discontinued altogether, something similar to what happened with the controversial Spyfone app.
Recently, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) banned the use of Spyfone app, as they kickstarted the charge against a host of infamous surveillance software systems. The decision was, of course, taken with many constituents being brought into consideration, but the primary accusation was that the app “secretly harvested and shared data on people’s physical movements, phone use and online activities through a hidden device hack.”
Now, collecting data of this nature is a pretty usual thing today, but FTC pointed out the fact that the company must also take the responsibility of securing all the collected data, a responsibility Spyfone failed rather spectacularly in fulfilling. Another reason why Spyfone was shown the door happened to be its longstanding policy of requiring users to root their Android device. This allegedly would help the entity in evading warranties, but it would also make the device vulnerable to security threats.
Spyfone has been on the radar of FTC for a while now. In 2018, following a cyberattack on the app’s servers that led to data of over 2200 users getting stolen, FTC had asked the company to carry out an investigation. Nevertheless, the commission wasn’t satisfied with what they saw, and they brought this up once again to really seal the fate of Spyfone.