By Marzella Sigai
Apple has removed the Like Patrol app from its App Store, following Instagram’s delivery of a cease-and-desist letter to the app’s developers for violating its policies against data collection. Like Patrol enables subscribers to keep constant surveillance of other people’s social media activities.
Like Patrol wanted to make spying on Instagram easier than ever, setting up a service that let paying subscribers get notifications anytime someone they followed commented on or liked a photo. It targeted people in relationships, saying they could use the app to keep tabs on whoever their partners were communicating with on Instagram.
Like Patrol’s founder, Sergio Luis Quintero, told CNET in an email that the company will fight to get back on the App Store.
The app first showed up in Apple’s store in July. It does not appear in the Google Play Store for Android devices.
Like Patrol charged people up to $80 a year. It had fewer than 300 people signed up in October, Quintero said late last month in an email to CNET.
The app is not classified as stalkerware, which abusive partners use to keep track of private information like location data, call logs, text messages and contacts. Still, security experts found that Like Patrol was encouraging stalking behavior by monitoring people’s activities on social media.
Quintero described his app as Instagram’s “Following Tab on steroids,” enhancing a tool that the social network killed off in early October. Like Patrol would deliver notifications by gender, letting subscribers know if the people they followed interacted with posts from men or women and claimed to have an algorithm to detect if they were posts from attractive people.
The founder said that he would be making the app’s tools open source, and available for anybody to use in the coming days. –CNET.COM