• Kyodo

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Police on Wednesday served fresh arrest warrants to three developers of a computer application that enables remote access to other people’s smartphones, and separately arrested the leader of the software development team.

Wataru Ishida, a 40-year-old executive of Yokohama-based Internal Corp., Kotaro Katakura, the 31-year-old leader of the sales and development team and two others are suspected of violating the law banning the development of malware. The trio allegedly developed remote-access software called Android Analyzer.

Police said Ishida and Katakura have denied the allegations.

According to the company’s website, once the software is downloaded to someone’s smartphone, data from its GPS and messaging app Line can be accessed remotely.

The company said on the website that the software could be used to search for lost smartphones or to locate the whereabouts of children, adding that downloads to phones without the owners’ knowledge would “violate privacy.” Police are probing whether the company was aware that the software is illegal.

Users have been arrested in Toyama, Kyoto and Shimane prefectures.

The arrests are the second time the three individuals have come to the attention of authorities.

Earlier this month they were arrested for selling illegal software that provides an advantage to players of the popular Puzzle & Dragons online game.

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