Being in an emotionally or physically abusive relationship can have lasting effects on both parties involved. Add in the fact that technology gives the abuser access to one’s location, the ability to read text messages and listen to phone calls, making the abuse even more disturbing. The legality of the use of spyware in domestic violence cases is new and the system is having a hard time figuring the legality of such actions. Domestic violence victims and their advocates in Connecticut are learning just how invasive such spyware can be.
One woman in another state who was in an abusive relationship sought the help of private counseling. She was under the assumption that the meetings, location and what was discussed were private and that her abusive significant other was unaware; that is, until he showed up and barged into the facility by kicking the door in. He had to be removed by police.
Even though such applications are readily available for purchase and use on most app stores, Google and Apple have strict policies in place that forbid the sale or advertising of them. Regardless, the makers of spyware have found ways around the marketing and use “dual-purpose” techniques to ensure their product is first in line when doing a search. The real issue when it comes to the adware and spyware is that the applications are usually installed on the victim’s phone even though he or she is unaware.
Technology can be a great asset, and also a red flag for victims of domestic violence. On the plus side, the ability to have access to the threats sent via email or text is sometimes vital in establishing a case against an abuser. The downside is that some applications that can be installed on a victim’s phone can give intimate details and location information for the abuser. Because the law is vague on the use of apps and the violation of personal privacy, the assistance of an experienced Connecticut attorney may help to establish the privacy violation and to obtain a restraining order.
Source: vox.com, “How domestic abusers use smartphones to spy on their partners”, Nicki Dell, May 21, 2018