A London-based research team has just published a six-page list of resources for domestic abuse victims who’ve been targeted through smart home gadgets that are controlled by their partners. In some cases, a domestic abuser can remotely control internet-connected home appliances using their phone, such as a smart thermostat, causing these devices to seemingly malfunction or become disabled with no probable cause.
The six-page document includes a number of blogs, written works, and organizations to contact that are intended to both inform victims of current research and it give pointers on how to deal with technology that might be used to abuse or harass them. The resource list also seeks to tackle any discrepancies in smart home knowledge between victims and their abusers, by providing information needed to not only understand how these smart homes work, but also how to make one’s home life less vulnerable to digital threats.
The document was assembled by several teams of researchers and advocates working on the intersection of domestic violence and digital surveillance, including the Gender and Internet of Things (G-IoT) team at the University College of London, the London Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Consortium, Privacy International, and the PETRAS IoT Research Hub.
The document comes on the tails of last month’s New York Times report detailing real-world examples of domestic abusers who’ve weaponized smart home technology — like internet-connected lights, locks, and doorbells — to psychologically harass their partners. Though the resource list was created this month, the authors claim that it will be regularly updated.