Beware. If you are in an abusive relationship or have been in the past, take special precautions and check your personal devices to ensure the abusive party isn’t stalking you and continuing to terrorize you through the use of technology.
…there’s another kind of privacy concern that is a lot more intimate. You could call it Little Brother, though it’s really more like husbands and wives, lovers and exes who secretly watch their partners — from a distance. They are cyberstalking — using digital tools that are a lot cheaper than hiring a private detective.
NPR investigated these tools, also known as spyware, and spoke with domestic violence counselors and survivors around the country. We found that cyberstalking is now a standard part of domestic abuse in the U.S.
Digital Detox At The Shelter
Before we get into how spyware works, let’s visit a place that’s been transformed by it: a domestic violence shelter — a safe house for mostly women and children. It’s run by a group called Next Door, and it’s somewhere in the heart of Silicon Valley. I can’t tell you exactly where because its location is a secret. (I had to sign an agreement to be let in.)
While the kids are playing with dominoes in the living room, counselor Rosa Navarro takes the newest arrival — a woman who has a little boy — into a quiet office for intake.
And that intake includes digital detox.