Users Whatsapp can be victims of stalking due to a loophole in the mechanism that displays the status on the messenger – that is, that annoying feature that warns you when you are online. There are applications available on the Play Store who are able to monitor this feature, allowing third parties to get an accurate idea of when you used the app using just your phone number.
According to Matt Boddy, CTO of the company responsible for the privacy and security app Traced, several of these apps and websites that promise to track the status of WhatsApp users provide an exact date and time of access.
To be able to carry out the monitoring, it is enough that the individual provides the victim’s number – the software does everything else: it writes reports, crosses data and sends notifications to warn when the person is online and when they disconnect.
So far, there is no configuration you can do in the app to prevent this type of monitoring (and there is no way to know if someone is using this loophole to monitor you).
In the tests of the Tecnoblog, even if you configure the messenger to display the “last seen” to “nobody”, the status “online” or “offline” remains public.
Google bans apps to track spouses and the like
The Play Store policy leaves some loopholes about the presence of this type of spy app on its platform. Google claims that:
“Acceptable forms of these apps can be used by parents to track their children. However, these applications cannot be used to track a person (a spouse, for example) without their knowledge or permission, unless a persistent notification is displayed while the data is being transmitted. ”
The issue is the fine line between an app that can be used for parental control and for stalking. What, in fact, guarantees that the same software cannot be used in both situations? In any case, Google prohibits criminal-oriented marketing (to harass people) – which does not seem to have much effect in practice.
One of the apps discovered by Traced’s CTO has the following sayings in the description on its official website:
“If you suspect a cheating spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend, for example, the‘ last seen on WhatsApp ’tracker from [nome do app] can help you confirm whether your suspicions are true or not. ”
Although the Play Store eliminates this type of app, there are other similar tools that are websites, and do not need to be in accordance with the rules of the Google store. Some have even more complex mechanisms, taking stalking to another level.
One allows you to cross the status data of two users to see if the individuals could be exchanging messages on WhatsApp.
Stalking is a crime in Brazil
It is worth remembering that the practice of stalking someone, by any means, is a crime in Brazil when the action threatens the physical or psychological integrity of the individual, restricting his ability to move or, in any way, invading or disturbing his sphere of freedom or privacy.
The law was enacted on March 31, 2021, and the penalty is imprisonment, from six months to two years, and a fine, with the possibility of aggravation when practiced against children, adolescents or the elderly, and against women due to the condition of the child. women. The extent of punishment can also occur if there is the participation of two or more people and the use of weapons.
With information: Traced