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An Online Resource Library on Gender-Based Violence.

Apps used to stalk can endanger domestic violence victims, but be difficult for lawyers to uncover

Monday, May 21, 2018

"There are hundreds of cell phone apps that can be used for stalking a current or former romantic partner—and they may be hard to access by attorneys who work with victims.

The New York Times reported Saturday on research that showed more than 200 apps available through Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store for monitoring someone’s location and activities. Many are ostensibly for finding a lost phone or keeping tabs on a child, the Times says—but are marketed for catching a cheating partner.

The research the Times reported on, from NYU, Cornell, Hunter College and Technion, also found apps that are overtly marketed for spying on a partner. Researchers called nine companies and asked about using their apps to track a husband; only one—TeenSafe—turned them down.

Erica Olsen, director of the National Network to End Domestic Violence’s Safety Net project, says this is a known problem among advocates for abuse survivors—and that it sometimes gets dismissed as paranoia. In a situation where the stalker might be violent, she says, that’s a mistake."

Read the full article here.

For more information on this topic, see the Safety & Privacy in a Digital World special collection.