When it comes to security for a domestic abuse victim, making sure that your I's are dotted and T's crossed is of the utmost importance. That being the case, how will you ensure that you cannot be found out if you seek help or leave your abusive partner?
You should be cognizant of how your mobile device might be used for monitoring and tracking your activites.
Apple certainly hasn't made it any simpler for domestic abuse victims as of late, considering the revelations of April 2011.
The biggest reported problem with the iPhone as of right now is how the tracking data is stored and utilized. As you probably know by now, the iPhone has a GPS tracking system that is more than capable of tracking your location, and even helping you to find other locations on the map. There is a serious flaw with this however, and many people are just now finding out.
The flaw of course is simply that the tracking data is stored in your phone rather than being deleted. In addition to that, there is a chance that the data will actually be uploaded to your computer in an unencrypted file if you sync your device.
Apple has stated that it takes that location data and uses it to enhance it's location service, though once the data is uploaded, Apple claims that it is anonymous and no longer links back to the original customer. Unfortunately, the data is present and could easily obtained by anyone with access to your phone or computer.
Whether or not Apple has other plans for this location data is anyone's guess. The real problem however is that someone with undesirable intentions could easily obtain this data and use it against a domestic abuse victim. This would not be the optimal outcome by any stretch of the imagination.
Be aware that the Apple iPhone is not the only product that tracks your location. Other smart phones, tablets, or even notebook computers might also have this capability.
Be aware that Apple has released a new version of their iTunes software that may encrypt or delete the stored location data on your computer. You may want to consider taking the step of updating your phone and computer with the latest versions of software.
This is not the only problem however, there are many potential threats to your security in today's world, one example is Google Latitude. This program will actually allow you to track your friends using their smartphones, and using Google's already robust map system. Could someone track you with this without your knowledge? Could this be a nightmare scenario for a domestic abuse victim. Absolutely! With that being the case, you will undoubtedly want to watch yourself, and ensure you do not become an unknowing user of a location service. Other tracking servicesinclude Foursquare and Gowalla.
As we said before, most services, particularly Apple will store this data on a server with no connection to the original user. The question however is whether or not they are telling the truth. Is it truly possible for all this information to be stripped from the file? If so, how easy would it be for someone to ensure that the information was still intact? Finally, how could you ensure that the data isn't being intercepted by a third party on the way out?
If you are a domestic abuse victim, then there is a strong chance you've already guessed just how all of this location data could be used against you. If you partner has any technological skill, he or she may be able to tap into your phone and determine where you've been, where you might be going, or even worse, where you are now.
Would an abusive partner use this information to hurt you? There is always a chance, especially if they have a history of violent behavior, and you will need to make sure you take the necessary steps to prevent this potential occurrence. Let's talk about a few of those steps and how you should start implementing them into your daily life:
Know whose Getting your Information: This is an important step, a very important one if you are a domestic abuse victim. Do you know who is getting the information that your phone is broadcasting? If not, then you may want to ask someone. Your phone company should be more than willing to share such information with you, and if they do not, then it may be a good idea to turn off your phone and go with a different carrier altogether.
Change your Number: This might sound like a rather extreme step, but if you want to keep your abusive partner from learning your location, changing your phone number may very well be the right step to take, or at least getting a secondary phone for seeking help. The problem with changing your number or getting a second phone however is that at some point, this information will get back to your current or former partner. Yet another reason why every domestic abuse victim should always seek shelter and help.
Keep your Friends Close: Your greatest asset will be your friends, and while keeping them close might not completely save you from harm, it will at least ensure that there are witnesses, and you will know that you are doing everything to can to keep yourself from being harmed and becoming a domestic abuse victim from being found after finding shelter.
Ditch the Smartphone: This might sound a bit extreme, but do you really need to use a smartphone? There are many types of phones out there, and while smartphones might take over the industry at some point, they have certainly not done so yet. This will be your choice entirely, and if you choose to go with a phone that has no GPS device, then you will undoubtedly feel safer so far as being geographically tracked.
These are just a few of the things that you could do to ensure that you remain safe in the face of a very difficult situation, but as you know, there is no such thing as a foolproof plan. Domestic violence is a very, very serious problem, and every case is unique. With this being the situation, ensure you take all of the necessary steps to safeguard your life.
Most of all -- if you are a domestic abuse victim, return to our resources for domestic violence help and find a domestic violence shelter or domestic violence hotline that you can contact from a safe location today to get help.
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