OOP Survivor Blog

Four women and five children die every day in the U.S. due to domestic violence. Read President Barack Obama's Presidential Proclamation announcing his commitment to reducing the prevalence of domestic violence in our country.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Your abuser could be stalking you via your cell phone!

A friend of mine brought an article to my attention today, and I really want to spread word of it to women who are trying to escape an abuser and stay safe. Location-tracking programs that are in some cell phones can be really helpful, like when you're trying to keep track of your teen's whereabouts. But they can also be very harmful for domestic violence victims.

The article in today's Wall Street Journal brings this issue to light by mentioning a recent case in Arizona where a man used his wife's cell phone to stalk her. According to the article, an increasing number of domestic violence victims arrive at shelters complaining that they can't figure out how their abusers are tracking them down. They're shocked to discover that their cell phones are the tool being used to find their location. Especially since a cell phone is often an abuse victim's lifeline, quickly putting her in touch with the police and others who can help in times of crisis. It's becoming common practice for women's shelters to provide domestic violence victims with new cell phones that can't be tracked, while completely dismantling the cell phones the victims bring in with them.

Before reading the article, I was aware of how cell phones can allow GPS tracking, but what I didn't know was how sophisticated the tracking software has become. Software such as MobileSpy can even track and record text messages. That's truly scary. Like if a woman is dealing with an angry, jealous abuser who would go ballistic if he knew she was texting another man.

With the various moneymaking add-on programs being offered by cell phone carriers, I'm wondering where the incentive is for them to ensure that abusers and stalkers aren't utilizing the programs for domestic violence purposes. It seems to me that these tracking systems are way too easy to abuse.

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