It’s hardly news to realize that there’s always someone out there that’s going to find a way to abuse or manipulate technological advancements for a greater malevolent purpose. It is surprising to learn though that there’s disturbing data that points to smart home tech being abused by domestic abusers.
A recent report released by The New York Times brings to light this disturbing data. There’s a new pattern of evidence that tells a dark story about the rise of smart home technology and domestic abuse cases.
Abuse always comes down to two things: power, and control. Technology readily provides those two things. In regards to smart home tech, you would think it’s only being used to keep you and your family safer, but that’s not the case here.
Some of the smart home technology being harnessed in order to abuse and control women includes internet connected thermostats, speakers, cameras, lights, doorbells, and even locks. Domestic abusers can easily use their smartphones to access smart home devices and then utilize them against their partners through psychological warfare and surveillance.
“Callers have said the abusers were monitoring and controlling them remotely through the smart home appliances and the smart home system,” Muneerah Budhwani, an advocate for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, said to the Times about all of this.
It’s so upsetting to think that the comforts and conveniences in your own home could be turned against you in this way.
Women told The New York Times about various unsettling things that occurred, including a smart doorbell ringing repeatedly when nobody was there, air conditioning shutting off without her being the one to do so, and a front door lock that constantly changed codes. A lot of the women the Times spoke with are from wealthy areas where smart home technology is the norm.
The Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria released a study in which they found that an astounding 98% of women “stated that they had clients who had experienced technology-facilitated stalking and abuse.”
With so many smart home devices you could have in your home, figuring out how a domestic abuser is monitoring or controlling your life can be like finding a needle in a haystack. On top of that, a lot of women are not the ones setting up smart home devices; it’s their husbands or boyfriends.
“They’re not sure how their abuser is getting in and they’re not necessarily able to figure it out because they don’t know how the systems work,” Eva Galperin, the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s director of cybersecurity, told the Times.
“What they do is they just turn everything off, and that just further isolates them.”
Bre is a female millennial go getter residing in New York. One part entrepreneur, one part geek, she obtained her degree in Textile/Surface Design from The Fashion Institute of Technology. She has held some exciting roles in both fashion as a designer working for brands like Victoria’s Secret and Henri Bendel, as well as in ad tech working for publishers like Ziff Davis.
Today she operates her own luxury label and is also the Chief Chick at Chipchick.com which reaches millions of women each month. Bre is passionate about keeping women informed of the latest technology trends and products to improve their lifestyle and believes in providing real, useful information and advice to her readers.