Did you know that the apps you are downloading on your smartphone could also be encrypted with software that installs a GPS tracker and more when you download it?

iPhone 4
Robert Scoble, Flickr

It's true, and now Assemblyman Ron Dancer is trying to make these types of apps illegal.

"They are being really marketed as fun product apps or games, that type of thing," explains Dancer. "They're really designed to spy and track without your knowledge and consent."

The Assemblyman's legislation would make it a third degree crime for a person to use a software application that can be downloaded onto someone's cell phone that disables or hides notification to the user that their phone contains global positioning software disclosing their whereabouts or that their cellular communications can be accessed by a third party.

"These smartphone apps actually can get your text messages, can get your phone records," says Dancer. "It's devious and it's dangerous and it can fall in the hands of sexual predators, stalkers, domestic violence abusers."

The bill sponsored by Dancer is similar to that of a New York assemblyman who is pushing for a ban on such smartphone "spy" applications, marketed as "Spy2Mobile" and "iTrack."

"There is an explosion of technology on the market that effectively eavesdrops on private communications or discloses where people are without their knowledge," says Dancer. "Most consumers are not aware of the level of sophistication which some applications provide. They are marketed as 'fun' products, but they have the effect of making people vulnerable to predators."

If he can't make the encrypted apps illegal, Dancer thinks at the very least the app makers should be required to disclose the fact that downloading them will install the trackers.

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