WomensLaw serves and supports all survivors, no matter their sex or gender.

About Abuse

Abuse Using Technology

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Updated: March 22, 2021

What is spyware?

Spyware is monitoring software that can be used to secretly monitor a device’s activity without the user’s knowledge. Spyware can be installed on a:

  • computer;
  • tablet;
  • smartphone; or
  • other device.

Spyware can allow an abuser access to everything on your device, as well as the ability to record and listen in on phone calls or other communications. Spyware software may be hidden on a device, and generally does not give a notification that the software has been installed or is in use. It can be hard to find spyware once it is installed and also hard to remove from a device.

If the abuser is using spyware, s/he may be breaking the law in your state. Installing and using spyware could be illegal based on stalking or harassment laws, computer laws, wiretapping, or eavesdropping laws. You may want to speak with a lawyer in your state for legal advice. To read the specific language of the laws in your state, go to our Crimes page.