The Tools to End Technology Abuse
By Paige Hanson, Chief of Cyber Safety Education
For many, smartphones and the internet can be incredibly powerful resources, offering ways to connect, learn, socialize, and more. For domestic violence victims and survivors these same tools can be used to create intense harm. Control and manipulation are cornerstones of violence against women and children, and there has been an influx of technological advances that have made people even more vulnerable. Control over what someone can do or say online can cut off a lifeline that could actually be used to end the cycle of abuse, while stalkerware apps can be used to give a potential abuser direct access to someone’s location, 24/7.
To help, NortonLifeLock funded a $75,000 grant to the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), and their Safety Net Program. NNEDV is dedicated to creating a social, political, and economic environment in which domestic violence no longer exists. And through our partnership on the Safety Net Program, we’re addressing the intersection between technology and safety helping to create safer spaces for victims and potential victims and end technology abuse.
As part of this support, I was honored to keynote two webinar training sessions for the staff of organizations working to stop domestic violence. In early September, my Tools for Online Privacy and Security session reached almost 500 of these employees. We discussed survivors right to technology and its benefits. I also provided training on how to use privacy and security tools on devices, including iPhones and Android phones, like turning off geotagging and not using public Wi-Fi, to keep identities and information safe.
We also discussed how Norton™ Mobile Security for Android automatically detects stalkerware, and I provided other device safety tips, like using a password manager. Of those that participated, 99% rated the information they learned as good or excellent. Over 90% of participants were very satisfied with the usefulness of the content and 100% of respondents believed it would increase their ability to effectively do their job.
“Tech safety is extremely important to all domestic violence survivors, and as a domestic violence advocate, I will use this information on a regular basis,” said one participant. And according to another, “Cyber Security is not something I’m a subject matter expert on, so I want to know as much as I can when helping develop a safety plan with a survivor- and these things are very important!”
This week, I presented the second webinar, Device and Account Security in Safety Planning for Relocation to more than 200 people. We discussed strategies for common scenarios, like relocating with existing devices and accounts and keeping physical locations confidential, keeping the devices and accounts themselves private and inaccessible, and setting up new devices and accounts. In addition to devices and accounts, attendees also received ongoing protection tips on data, privacy, and identity. Of those that attended the event and responded to a feedback survey, 98% said the training was excellent or good and 89% are planning to implement changes based on what they learned. Attendees also appreciated the practical tips offered, saying "I loved the explanations, that jargon wasn't used, and that all of the information was practical and digestible" and "I liked that the info is practical. Knowing something is one thing but practical things to do something about a problem is important to the helping relationship."
NortonLifeLock will continue to partner with effective and passionate organizations, like NNEDV, to eliminate technology abuse.
To learn more about the impactful work that NNEDV does, visit their website.