Apple Eliminates Instagram stalking Program from App Store

Apple has eliminated an program that encouraged stalking on Instagram. 
James Martin/CNET
Apple has eliminated the Like Patrol program from the App Store, after Instagram’s delivery of a cease-and-desist letter into the program’s programmers for violating its own policies against information collection. Like Patrol allows subscribers to stay continuous surveillance of different people’s social networking actions. Like Patrol desired to create spying on Instagram easier than ever, setting up a service that let paying subscribers get notifications anytime someone they followed commented 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. Instagram sent its cease-and-desist letter in late October. On Saturday, Apple removed Like Patrol from the App Store and said the app violated its guidelines. Like Patrol didn’t respond to a request for comment on Monday. The app first showed up in Apple’s store in July. It doesn’t appear in the Google Play Store for Android devices.The app charges people up to $80 a year and had fewer than 300 people signed up in October, app founder Sergio Luis Quintero said late last month in an email to CNET. The app isn’t 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 which 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 readers know if the people they tracked interacted with posts from men or women and claimed to have an algorithm to detect if they were posts from attractive individuals.It did this by scraping people’s public profiles for data — a practice that directly violates Instagram’s policies. Four days after Instagram delivered Like Patrol the cease-and-desist correspondence, Quintero stated his company intended to fight it. It’s unclear when that the firm also intends to combat Apple.