Spy­ware fear for vi­o­lence vic­tims

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Clarissa Bye

DO­MES­TIC vi­o­lence abusers are in­creas­ingly us­ing spy­ware, GPS track­ing on phones and joint fam­ily in­ter­net ac­counts to stalk and ha­rass women, Aus­tralia’s first DV tech­nol­ogy safety sum­mit has been told.

Per­pe­tra­tors are even hid­ing tiny GPS chips in chil­dren’s toys and in cars to spy on their ex-part­ners, front­line do­mes­tic vi­o­lence work­ers were told at the Tech­nol­ogy Safety Sum­mit, held in Syd­ney.

And the grow­ing use of on­line ac­counts, from credit cards, Facebook and iTunes ac­counts to trans­port schemes like the Opal card, are help­ing per­pe­tra­tors track ex-part­ners.

“There’s now an al­most uni­ver­sal over­lap be­tween tech­nol­ogy-fa­cil­i­tated abuse and vi­o­lence against women in Aus­tralia,” Karen Bentley, di­rec­tor of sup­port group Wes­net, said.

“Tech­nol­ogy is in­creas­ingly be­ing mis­used to abuse, make threats, mon­i­tor, hu­mil­i­ate and pun­ish.

“We are def­i­nitely see­ing spy­ware in­stalled on phones. At the mo­ment, the most com­mon way peo­ple have all of their traf­fic and lo­ca­tion re­vealed on a smart­phone is usu­ally through an iPhone, through shared fam­ily iTunes ac­counts.”

Do­mes­tic vi­o­lence sur­vivors were warned to turn off lo­ca­tion ser­vices on phone apps, to check for hid­den de­vices and not trust new friend re­quests on Facebook if the per­son was an ex­ist­ing friend, as it could be a ploy to in­stall ma­li­cious spy­ware.

Erica Olsen, a US do­mes­tic vi­o­lence ex­pert, said a new trend was for com­put­ers to be hi­jacked via “RAT”, or re­mote access tech­nol­ogy, through phony links.

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