AG James Settles over Sale of Unlawful Monitoring Software

  • New York AG Letitia James settled with Powerline Group Inc., fifteen related entities, and their owner (collectively, “Powerline”), over allegations that Powerline violated New York Executive Law § 63(12) and General Business Law §§ 349 and 350 by promoting and selling software products designed to enable a user to monitor activity on another individual’s mobile device, also known as “spyware” or “stalkerware.”
  • According to the settlement, Powerline promoted these spyware products by creating the false impression that using them to monitor another adult individual’s device without consent was permissible, despite hidden disclaimers acknowledging that customers who used the products this way risked violating numerous state and federal laws. AG James also alleges that Powerline engaged in other fraudulent conduct, including misrepresenting their refund and data security policies, creating review sites that purported to be independent when they were not, and misrepresenting the features of the spyware products.
  • Under the terms of the settlement, Powerline will pay $410,000 in penalties, disgorgement, and costs, and must make accurate disclosures regarding the products’ features and legality, any affiliated reviews or endorsements, applicable refund policies, and data security, among other things. Powerline also agrees to take steps to ensure that customers are not using their products for illegal purposes, and to make efforts to notify individuals who may not know their devices are being illegally monitored through use of the spyware products.