Hanoi police have finished investigating a deputy director and six employees of a technology firm which sold a spy app that allowed its users to spy on more than 14,000 mobile phones in 2013-2014.
They said Thursday they have recommended that the prosecutor's office charge Viet Hong Technology Company’s Deputy Director Nguyen Viet Hung and six employees for “illegally using information culled from computer, internet and telecommunication networks.”
Police said Hung, 41, and the employees -- Nguyen Van Tuan, Le Sy Phan, Nguyen Ngoc Kieu, Tran Minh Ngoc, Nguyen Thi Nga, and Le Thanh Lam -- developed mobile phone-monitoring software and sold it to more than 14,000 people between September 2013 and May 2014.
Police busted Viet Hong Technology Company last May before arresting these seven suspects a month later.
Director of the Hanoi-based firm, Dang Hong Dang, were not arrested as he neither engaged in the software business nor got profits from trading the so-called “Ptracker” software, police said.
Hung and the six employees earned around VND900 million (US$42,000) from the illegal activity, police said.
For VND400,000 ($19) per month, Viet Hong's customers could install the Ptracker software onto anyone's smartphones to listen on calls, read text messages, access contacts, track the owners' movements and use the phone to listen in on their daily lives.
The stolen information was archived on Viet Hong’s servers and could be accessed by signing up for a paid account.
The police said most recorded calls pertained to personal affairs, not national security.
Most of Viet Hong’s customers were the spouse or lover of the targeted mobile phone user, according to police.
Mobile phone operators were not responsible for the case as the Ptracker software was installed on phones, not on SIM cards, police said.
Vietnamese law prohibits the creation and installation of malicious software for the purposes of collecting personal information or taking control of digital devices.