Some Safety Considerations around using Technology
Adapted from information provided by VAWnet*.
When considering safety planning, advocates and survivors are encouraged to familiarize themselves with a growing number of technology options. It is important to consider ways technological tools might be used to help increase a survivor's safety and privacy, as well as to anticipate ways an abuser might misuse a tool to perpetrate further harm (e.g. to monitor communications or activities, to impersonate, etc.).
This page provides a few examples but is not reflective of the myriad of safety and privacy issues that can be impacted by technology (e.g. telephones, web browsers, email, databases, etc.).
TIP: Most cordless, wireless, and cellular phones do not ensure confidentiality. Traditional "corded" phones are more private than email correspondence or any of the above phones.
TIP: there are a variety of phone services survivors may want to know about such as anonymous call rejection, call screen / call block, caller ID / tracking, call trace, call waiting ID, do not disturb, and priority ringing; you can contact your local phone companies to see which services are offered in your region.
PCADV's Protect Your Phone Privacy / Proteja su Privacidad Telefonica card has some basic information about caller id, line blocking, and more.
II. Computers & the Internet:
Computer technology changes rapidly and new tools are introduced regularly that may aid survivors or be misused by abusers. Most abusers can find ways to track a survivor's computer and internet use including websites accessed, documents opened, and even keystrokes typed. Try to use a safer computer -- for example, at a public library, friend's place, domestic violence program, rape crisis program or work.
EMAIL TIP: Corresponding by email does not ensure confidentiality. There are many ways your email might be tracked or accessed without your consent or knowledge. For example, by virtue of how emails travel via the internet, email contents are not secure from unauthorized snooping. Emails can be intercepted. Also, if an abuser can access your email account by guessing the password or by reading emails you store locally on your computer, that abuser might get access to your private correspondence or even attempt to impersonate you. If you use email, try to choose login names and passwords your abuser cannot guess. These and other factors are important to consider when deciding when, how, or if to use email. Learning the steps you can take to clear received, sent, and deleted email can clear SOME of your more obvious "tracks", but does not ensure your privacy or safety.
Resources About Hiding SOME of Your Online Tracks: Below are other resources that discuss a few issues around computer and internet safety. IMPORTANT NOTE: While steps described on various webpages might help erase SOME of your computer tracks, be aware that a computer-savy abuser might still find other means to track all of your computer activities. It is impossible to erase all "tracks" of your computer activity. Try to use a safer computer.