A recent report by the New York Times las month highlighted real cases of smart home devices facilitating domestic abuse. Over 30 interviews with various lawyers, victims, and emergency responders have shed light on a rather grim application of smart home technology.
Partners, mostly men, have been using smart home devices remotely to distress their partners in multiple ways. An example would be ringing the doorbell remotely or turning on a light when their partner had just turned it of. Very distressing tricks included turning up the thermostat 100 degrees or blasting incredibly loud music randomly. Smart camera technology with live feeds would let them constantly monitor their partner’s movements too.
This gives a twisted sense of control to the perpetrator of the abuse. The reality is that domestic abuse is the problem and smart home tech adds a new method. With proper education, vulnerable partners can identify exactly what is going on and protect themselves. The “tech abuse” list created by researchers from University College London and Privacy International provides advice for anyone experiencing tech abuse.