Message-scraping, user-tracking service Spy Pet shut down by Discord


Spy Pet, a service that sold access to a rich database of allegedly more than 3 billion Discord messages and details on more than 600 million users, has seemingly been shut down.

404 Media, which broke the story of Spy Pet’s offerings, reports that Spy Pet seems mostly shut down. Spy Pet’s website was unavailable as of this writing. A Discord spokesperson told Ars that the company’s safety team had been “diligently investigating” Spy Pet and that it had banned accounts affiliated with it.

“Scraping our services and self-botting are violations of our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines,” the spokesperson wrote. “In addition to banning the affiliated accounts, we are considering appropriate legal action.” The spokesperson noted that Discord server administrators can adjust server permissions to prevent future such monitoring on otherwise public servers.

Kiwi Farms ties, GDPR violations

The number of servers monitored by Spy Pet had been fluctuating in recent days. The site’s administrator told 404 Media’s Joseph Cox that they were rewriting part of the service while admitting that Discord had banned a number of bots. The administrator had also told 404 Media that he did not “intend for my tool to be used for harassment,” despite a likely related user offering Spy Pet data on Kiwi Farms, a notorious hub for doxxing and online harassment campaigns that frequently targets trans and non-binary people, members of the LGBTQ community, and women.

Even if Spy Pet can somehow work past Discord’s bans or survive legal action, the site’s very nature runs against a number of other Internet regulations across the globe. It’s almost certainly in violation of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). As pointed out by StackDiary, Spy Pet and services like it seem to violate at least three articles of the GDPR, including the “right to be forgotten” in Article 17.

In Article 8 of the GDPR and likely in the eyes of the FTC, gathering data from what could be children’s accounts and profiting from them is almost certainly to draw scrutiny, if not legal action.

Ars was unsuccessful in reaching the administrator of Spy Pet by email and Telegram message. Their last message on Telegram stated that their domain had been suspended and a backup domain was being set up. “TL;DR: Never trust the Germans,” they wrote.

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