The Senate Judiciary Committee has taken steps to ban cyber-stalking by approving a bill that makes it a crime for companies to make and operate stalking applications.
Such apps are popular among jealous spouses. For about $50 they can download a program that allows them to track their spouse or partner through their cell phone without them knowing.
The software can secretly record text messages, call logs, physical locations and website visits. All the information is relayed to an email address chosen by the installer.
Companies can also track cell phone customers when they use the Internet on the phone. Their location can be passed to advertisers, marketers and others without permission.
This newly approved congressional measure would require those who make the apps to inform those who have it installed on their phones that it is running.
The proposal would also extend criminal and civil penalties to the companies and to those who actually use the programs on the sly.