Warning over rise in 'smart abuse'

Warning over rise in 'smart abuse'

Connected technology is quickly becoming a means of carrying out psychological abuse of former partners, according to a leading domestic violence charity.

Women's Aid have issued the warning after seeing a rise in the number of cases of so-called 'smart abuse', where an ex can control connected items in the home of their former partner to either spy on them or remotely control various household items such as heating, lightbulbs and smart speaker systems.

A woman interviewed by The Telegraph for a feature on the subject (registration required), described how her heating would mysteriously be on full blast during last summer’s heatwave, then switched itself off every 30 minutes during October’s cold snap. She only discovered later that her estranged husband used his remote access to change her smart-heating app settings, despite being in a different country. She told the paper: "It was absolutely freezing, my daughter was cold. It broke my heart."

Other instances reported include spying via a wall-mounted iPad, monitoring a connected doorbell system to see who was visiting the house and controlling lighting.

Women's Aid has expressed concern that online abuse powers drafted in the UK's new Domestic Abuse Bill don't go far enough. Sian Hawkins from the organisation told The Telegraph: "We can’t make these divisions any more between online and offline life. We have to make sure the bill is tackling those behaviours, otherwise there’s a huge part of domestic abuse that’s not going to be challenged through the legislation."

Conflict International are leaders in investigation and surveillance with many years of experience all over the world. We have extensive experience in locating hidden cameras and audio. We routinely carry out bug sweeping services for our clients and conduct counter surveillance to uncover any active or passive devices in home or office environments. To find out more about our services or to discuss a case in more detail, please contact our London Head Office for a no obligation chat on +44 (0)20 7917 2939 or email us at info@conflictinternational.com