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Digital Stalking: Men Using Surveillance Technology to Control Women

Digital technology as a tool for abuse and control

Living in a digital world can be both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it brings us closer together and makes it easier to stay connected. On the other, it can be used as a tool for abuse and control. In Sweden, digital technology is increasingly being used to stalk, harass, and threaten women in intimate relationships.

GPS trackers and other surveillance technology are being used to track women in sheltered accommodation, as DN’s review of several judgments has revealed. For example, a man was recently sentenced in Umeå for molestation, breach of child protection, illegal persecution and two cases of illegal threats. He had mounted a GPS transmitter on the car of his former partner.

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The Digital Women’s Freedom project works to inform women who seek help about the risks posed by digital platforms and mobile phones such as location sharing apps and passwords shared with perpetrators. It also counts dissemination of sexual images as digital violence, as well as economic abuses such as bank logins used to take out loans or destroy credit ratings without permission. Even something as mundane as a Netflix account can reveal someone’s whereabouts if they share it with their perpetrator.

The impact of digital technology on victims

Victims of digital abuse often feel like they have their perpetrator in their pocket. They may be constantly monitored and tracked, and they may be afraid to leave their home or use their phone for fear of being tracked. This can have a devastating impact on their lives, making it difficult to function in society and to seek help.

What can be done to protect victims?

It is important to take action against digital abuse and to protect victims from these digital threats and violations. This includes educating people about the risks of digital abuse, providing support to victims, and holding perpetrators accountable.

We must work together to ensure that digital technology is used for good, not for harm. We must create a world where everyone can feel safe and secure, regardless of their gender or relationship status.

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