Spyware fear for violence victims
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.