Technology can bring many benefits, but with increasing numbers of ‘smart’ and ‘connected’ devices in our homes and on our person, it is becoming easier for this technology to be abused by people who wish to monitor, stalk, record, isolate and control.
Many of the devices that we have come to rely on can be remotely controlled, linked to other devices without our knowledge and even feedback information or data. Perpetrators of abuse can use these devices as tools to further their abuse.
Here are a few examples of technology that can be used by perpetrators:
- Personal assistants, such as Siri, Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa. These can be manipulated and connected to other devices to respond to commands and pre-programmed ‘tasks’ which can be used as a method of control or to notify the other person of your movements and actions.
- Smart phones, which can be linked to ‘family’ networks, used as trackers and have apps installed that can feedback information and record you.
- Home Automation systems, such as Google Nest, Apple HomeKit, Amazon Echo, can all be controlled remotely and feedback information to anyone in the network. These systems often control heating, lighting, and other systems in the home, including entertainment. They can be manipulated by abusers to control your experience living in your home, to monitor you or make you feel that you cannot trust your own senses.
- Doorbells, wi-fi or Bluetooth cameras and home security, can help you to feel more secure, however it can also be used to monitor and control. Cameras are often wireless, very small with long battery life and can be hidden in everyday items, on shelves without people even noticing. As we become more used to personal surveillance it is even easier for perpetrators to justify the need for these items.
Increasing numbers of people tell us that technology played a part in the abuse they experienced, whether it was messages and posts on social media, trackers on their phone or being recorded by their smart speaker or a hidden camera, there is a growing body of evidence that along with the benefits come risks.