'Design by safety' features can reduce stalking and domestic violence

Design by safety features can reduce stalking and domestic violence.jpgsignature0bda2134997999647db9484968d55bc7

Mobile phones and online technologies are often used by perpetrators of domestic and domestic violence to lobby, control and restrict the freedom of victims and survivors.

Recent death reviews have found that stalking with technology and the use of false social media identities is becoming more common in cases of domestic and domestic violence suicide.

In Australia, two key organizations are working to reduce this type of abuse with the potential of technology: WESNET and the e-Safety Commissioner. Both provide training for advocates and professionals, as well as facilities for victims and survivors. WESNET will also be rolling out new phones.

Their work - and that of "victims of violence" - is made more difficult by technical products and services that treat consumer safety as an afterthought. Platforms and the tech industry can do a lot to reduce harm by building consumer safety from the earliest stages of product design.


    Creating risk

    At the moment, major tech companies often design and manage digital devices and media without considering consumer vulnerabilities.

    Until 2022, Google allowed free advertising of spyware and stalkerware - software designed to be secretly installed on a phone to monitor and record photos, videos, texts, calls and other information. on his platform. It blocked the ads amid growing evidence that this type of software is being used to execute intimate partner violence.

    In April 2022, Apple released cash-strapped tablets called AirTags that were intended to help people monitor transactions via Bluetooth signals. After being criticized for exposing a major security risk by enabling close partner stalking, Apple updated the devices so that they would beep at random at times if they were away from owner's phone.

    Facebook’s new smart glasses have also provoked privacy concerns, as have Snapchat’s Spectacles and Google Glass in the past. The glasses contain cameras and microphones that enable (possibly hidden) recording.

    Facebook has consulted with organizations such as the US National Network to end domestic violence in an effort to "innovate sensibly", although concerns remain about how the glasses could be used.

    Recognizing consumer facts and threats

    Traditional notions of cybersecurity focus on "foreign threats". However, to reduce and combat digital domestic and domestic violence we need a “close threat” model.

    Partners and families can force others to access devices. They may be linked to online accounts or able to guess passwords, based on their intimate knowledge of the owner.

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    In this context, technologies that enable surveillance and recording can be used to intimidate and intimidate victims and survivors in frightening ways, in everyday life.

    By understanding and trying to minimize the risk posed by atheists, platforms and business need to think proactively about how technologies might be co-opted or the weapon.

    Design Safety

    The eSafety Commissioner's Design Safety initiative aims to make consumer safety a priority in the design, development and use of online products and services. The campaign revolves around three basic principles.

    The first is that service providers' responsibility for making consumer safety a top priority. This means that other platforms and companies work to anticipate how their products may harm, enhance or promote. In this way, the safety burden falls only on the user.

    The second is that consumers should have the power and independence to make decisions for their own benefit. Platforms and services should engage in meaningful consultation with users, including diverse and at-risk groups, to ensure that their features and functions are accessible and helpful to all.

    The third principle is transparency and accountability about published safety activity and goals. This also helps users to address safety concerns.

    There is growing support for these principles among technical companies. Last year IBM published its own guide to "coercive control protection design".

    Effective approaches must also recognize how interconnected or transversal forms of structural or systemic pressure shape a person's knowledge of technology and how it can deepen social inequality.

    In order to achieve the safety goals with coercive control protection design or planning, we need to review not only the policies but also the actual practices of platforms and industry, as they emerge.

    How technology can advance

    ESafety has developed Design Safety assessment tools to innovate and innovate based on good practice and evidence-based resources and templates.

    Platforms and industry play a key role in addressing the effects of domestic and domestic violence through design. They can and should do more in this space.

    Article by Bridget Harris, Associate Professor, Queensland University of Technology

    This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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