Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Saturday, January 09, 2010

New Tech Brings Domestic Violence Dangers

As a security researcher one area I’ve always cared about is the use of tech in domestic violence cases. My regular readers know how I feel about people who advocate keyloggers as a parental tool. Wake up people, over 90% of the keylogger market is used to spy and control ex-spouses and lovers. Detection and removal of keyloggers is one feature I still always include in the free version of WinPatrol.

It has been over a year since I’ve written about the risks to domestic violence survivors and based on recent experiences it’s time I share some new tips. My past presentations still apply so before I talk about new risks here are links to previous information I presented to the National Network to End Domestic Violence.


New Tricks

GPS Tracking: The Good and Bad.
One new tech tool for kid safety has been popular but may put survivors in danger. Many cell phone carriers provide GPS tracking for as little as $10 a month. This service allows you to track the location of your child and see where they go and how long they stay. As a parent/grand parent I think this is a fantastic use of technology. Unfortunately, it could also be used by controlling ex-partners. If the words, “Look mom, Dad bought me a new cell phone for Christmas” sound familiar you should think twice. Perhaps I’m a little more suspicious than most but I’ve already advised more than one mom in abusive custody fights how to turn off the GPS feature. If your ex can track your child when in your care, they can track you as well.

30 Day Hold for your Mail
The United States Postal Service has implemented a lot new technology but may still need to add some safe guards. I was recently asked to help a woman who was arrested for failure to appear in Schenectady County Family Court. According to the court she was sent notices advising her of family court matters which she was required to appear. Turns out she never received this mail. She also never received her electric bill and other important correspondence. It turns our her husband went online and with little effort had the post office put a “hold” on her mail without her knowledge. A nice little trick which I hope my readers are good people and won’t abuse this information.

Donate your Phone
Lastly, I know you all have old cell phones sitting around that could be put to good use. Domestic Violence shelters and national organizations like NNEDV still accept donations of old cell phones. These phone are critical to domestic violence survivors and can be a lifeline to help. Check with your local agency or get more information at “Donate Your Phone”.

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Blogger Zeya Irika's Dad said...

These are very valid points, and good of you to bring up the discussion.

5:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are a decent man,Bill & you have helped this battered woman more than you realise.The more that decent men get involved in the prevention side of DV then it takes away some power from the abusers. Regards Tracey Lee

8:03 AM  

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