Did you just notice the smart devices at your home were acting weirdly? Your air conditioner gets switched off without you touching it, the temperature of your house suddenly drops, and the password of the digital lock at your front door changes every day without you knowing. If so, you are one of those victims of domestic abuse whose partners are using technology to do so. While IoT devices made our day to day life easier at home, it has become a new weapon in domestic abuse.
Last month, the New York Times published a report, explaining the ways in which domestic abusers have weaponized smart home technology, such as internet-connected locks, lights, doorbells, thermostats, and many more to harass and abuse their partners psychologically. Now, a research team at University College London has published a list of resources for the victims of domestic abuse, who’ve been targeted through IoT devices controlled by their abusive partners.
The six-page document includes a number of tools and organizations, which are meant to inform the victims on the IoT landscape and tell them how to deal with the technology they might be targeted with. The list also aims to tackle any potential gap of knowledge between the victims and the abusers about the smart device, by providing information to victims so that they not only know how these devices work but also know how to make their life less vulnerable to digital threats.
The document was put together by various teams of researchers and advocates who are working on this issue, including the university’s Gender and the Internet of Things (G-IoT) team, Privacy International, the London Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Consortium, and the PETRAS IoT Research Hub. While the list was created this month, it will be updated regularly.